In an age of government dependence, this should surprise no one.
Social Security Disability Insurance has risen so dramatically in the last few years that the advanced crisis could bankrupt it in just three years.
Since June, 2012 11 million Americans have been receiving disability benefits. Total cost to the taxpayers was $132 billion the previous year, which exceeds the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor, Justice, and the Interior, , The Insider Report disclosed.
Costs are exploding and estimated at $144 billion in 2013, up from an inflation-adjusted $56 billion as recently as 2000, according to a report from the Cato Institute.
The SSDI trust fund will accumulate $111 billion this year, making the deficit $33 billion – impossible to sustain.
Compare this crisis with the cost in 1970. At that time there were less than 30 disability recipients per thousand U.S. workers. Today there are 75 per thousand. This alarming trend is increasing Medicare spending since disabled workers can also apply for Medicare after a two-year waiting period, regardless of their age.
It also makes the disability status of recipients eligible for food stamps (double the cost in the last five years) and other benefits.
Where is the president and Congress?
Medicare benefits for SSDI recipients cost the government about 80 percent as much as the benefit themselves, which means that the disability program brings another $100 billion in taxpayer costs to the fold.
The reason for this catastrophe is simple:
“Congress has expanded benefit levels over the decades, and eligibility standards have been greatly liberalized. The result is that people capable of working are instead opting for the disability rolls when confronted with employment challenges,” according to Cato.
What once was a source for people suffering from debilitating conditions such as strokes and cancer now includes ailments such as depression, back pain and chronic fatigue syndrome.
We have become a nation of takers and whiners. It should be noted that less than one percent ever return to work.
“SSDI has become financially unsustainable and economically damaging, and policymakers should pursue major spending cuts to the program,” reports to Cato. “The only way to save the program is to curb spending on the program by demanding more aggressive screening of applicants and providing more incentives for beneficiaries to go back to work.”
What is the response from the White House and Congress?