Mar 26, 2013

14 million now get $124 billion disability check from the government. Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability.

The first is from Planet Money from NPR.

It is an article on how SSDI and disability insurance is being utilized.
Excerpt: In Hale County, Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability. On the day government checks come in every month, banks stay open late, Main Street fills up with cars, and anybody looking to unload an old TV or armchair has a yard sale.

Sonny Ryan, a retired judge in town, didn't hear disability cases in his courtroom. But the subject came up often. He described one exchange he had with a man who was on disability but looked healthy.

"Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench.
"I have high blood pressure," the man said.
"So do I," the judge said. "What else?"
"I have diabetes."
"So do I."

The second is a companion piece from the Atlantic which pretty much an extension of the above:
Disability Insurance: America's $124 Billion Secret Welfare Program

Excerpt: That rapid, under-the-political-radar expansion has turned the program into a massive budget item. As of 2010, its monthly cash payments accounted for nearly one out of every five Social Security dollars spent, or about $124 billion. In 1988, by comparison, it accounted for just one out of eight Social Security dollars. Because disabled workers qualify for Medicare, they also added $59 billion to the government's healthcare tab.
Some take home points:
1)       Disability numbers are not reflected in unemployment numbers
2)       The notion of the Disability-Industrial complex is starting to take place
3)       Education among physicians on disability needs to broaden
4)       Disability reform needs to happen not only at a government level, but at a personal level as well.