The purpose of Social Security disability is to provide income for individuals who are unable to work… well, sort of. Here is what the Social Security manual says:
Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.
Very strict? Sounds quite simple doesn’t it? Ha! Isn’t it curious that a million workers seemed to meet this test soon after losing a job or after expiration of unemployment benefits during the recession?
Judging by their rhetoric, you might think Republicans and Democrats have fixed Social Security. Describing the budget deal signed into law on Nov. 2, John Boehner said it secures “significant long-term savings from structural entitlement reform,” while President Obama lauded the agreement for reforming Social Security “in a responsible, balanced way.”
None of this is true. The deal tweaks the soon-to-be-bankrupt Social Security Disability Insurance program—but only shaves off between 1% and 1.5% of the program’s long-term shortfall. All Congress really did was delay insolvency by siphoning money from the rest of Social Security. Put another way, lawmakers “solved” the problem by bailing out one failing program with money from another failing program.
Here is an interesting view. Despite advances in medicine and the move to more jobs not requiring heavy labor, the reasons people are receiving disability has gone in the opposite direction. Who do you know who hasn’t had bouts of back pain, frequently chronic? I leave you to draw your own conclusions.