More Unemployed Turn to Social Security Disability
Jobless apparently using fund as a last resort
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 28, 2011 2:15 PM CST
Trays of printed social security checks wait to be mailed from the US Treasury's Financial Management services facility in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower, File)

(Newser) – The ranks of Americans collecting Social Security Disability Insurance payments have swelled dramatically in recent years, and that may be because more people are turning to the program when they can’t find work, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some 10.6 million Americans are now on the program, compared to 7.2 million in 2002. And one recent study shows that the jobless are much more likely to enter the program after they’ve used up their unemployment benefits.

SSDI is supposed to help people who are too injured to work, but the Journal suspects some are using it as secondary unemployment. For example, it spoke to one 62-year-old with hearing aids that had never prevented her from working before who’d turned to it when unable to find a job. The program’s administrator sees the phenomenon as natural. “When employment is good … people with impairments, like everyone else, find it easier to find a job,” he told Congress this month.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
ReasonInTimesOfRage
Dec 31, 2011 6:30 AM CST
The constant changing of the rules of allowance of SSDI is the issue here.
Threadjack
Dec 31, 2011 2:37 AM CST
i was denied SSDI until i had my third open heart surgery and tested diagnosis. before that i had a collapsed lung, 2 other open heart surgeries, and two hernias. while i dont doubt there are ways around it, qualifying for SSDI is EXTREMELY difficult. im not sure how this person could get it with such a minor impairment.
mblue
Dec 29, 2011 8:57 AM CST
I am on SSDI because I have inadequately controlled epilepsy and severe pain from nerve damage, due to a beating that nearly killed me. I was turned down and represented myself through the appeal process. I've helped a woman through it who had 3-6 months to live due to lung cancer (she never smoked). What gets me riled is meeting a woman who bragged about being on SSDI because she is a drug addict. As long as she goes to NA every day, she remains eligible even if she 'slips' -- she can't help it, it's part of her disease. Except to my way of thinking, but she chooses that 'disability' every time she makes that trip to the dealer, every time she puts that needle in her arm, every time she gos to NA laughing, knowing that she's just going to keep that money flowing and will be on the street again as soon as it's over. And she receives 1/2 again of her payment as subsidy for her children. Technically she must account for that money every year; in reality, she fills out a form saying she spent it all on the childrens' expenses (if it is saved one must fill out more paperwork) and nobody ever asks how. THAT bugs me. We should be holding these adults responsible for their illicit drug use, not telling them they can't help it and giving them money earmarked for people who truly cannot function.