Disability: the ‘de facto welfare program’

April 24, 2013

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Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government.

The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. […]

[And] story of these programs — who goes on them, and why, and what happens after that — is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy. It’s the story not only of an aging workforce, but also of a hidden, increasingly expensive safety net.

Source: Has disability become a ‘de facto welfare program’? – In Plain Sight.

I hate these kinds of reports. Even if they are based on facts they usually sensationalize the stories with a very slanted viewpoint.  I certainly agree that we should go after those who game the SSI system with an adamant zeal. They should be caught and punished for gaming the system.

But the problem is that these stories are fodder for those who want to deny benefits where they are actually needed. In other words they want to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Not surprising there were over seven-hundred comments attached to the article from which the quote above came. Most were screamer who talked about lazy people scamming the system. Many were very vitriol in their words. I usually intentionally avoid the comments now as they are almost always an extreme view by those who hate people who are not like them.  But one did shine through. Here it is:

I am a registered nurse and I collect SSID. I was severly injured, and flown away in the helicopter to the ICU where I used to work and put on a ventilator with my head smashed in and multiple fractures. Now I am no longer able to work so I get to collect my social security early. I hear this alot about welfare moochers. It makes me feel bad about living on money I actually paid into the system. Please don’t think this is always about welfare moochers like some kind of knee jerk response.

All this being said I’m not sure that SSI, or disability payments for things like disabled kids should even be in the Social Security system? It seems to dilute the original purpose of the fund and give fodder to those who, like Congressman Ryan and that conservative bunch, as reasons to “privatize” (read eliminate) it.

 

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3 responses to Disability: the ‘de facto welfare program’

  1. 

    This American Life, on NPR, recently had a fascinating hour on this topic. My biggest takeaway was learning that states are now hiring private firms to identify welfare recipients that could be moved out of state funded welfare, and over instead to federally funded SSI/Disability.

    As you would expect, the report was much criticized by the organizations it rubbed the wrong way, but in reading some of the criticisms, I’m not seeing anything solid that disputes what This American Life reported. It’s well worth listening to the podcast, or reading the transcript if you have time: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/28/i-thought-i-knew-what-being-disabled-meant-and-i-dont/

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  1. Why I Believe in SSI | unstopAble - April 24, 2013

    […] to assist in my medical care. So while some people might see disability benefits as being a shameful form of welfare, I see it as an equalizer. Many people live comfortable lives by working jobs that are not […]

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