The latest economic worry – Social Security disability

Aging Baby Boomers and a laid-off workers who are close to retirement age are placing a growing strain on the nation’s Social Security’s disability program.

Over the past decade applications have risen a startling 50 percent, and congressional estimates project the disability program may be insolvent by 2017.

Here’s more from the Associated Press article that appeared yesterday on the Huffington Post:

The trustees who oversee Social Security are urging Congress to shore up the disability system by reallocating money from the retirement program, just as lawmakers did in 1994. That would provide only short-term relief at the expense of weakening the retirement program.

Claims for disability benefits typically increase in a bad economy because many disabled people get laid off and can’t find a new job. This year, about 3.3 million people are expected to apply for federal disability benefits. That’s 700,000 more than in 2008 and 1 million more than a decade ago.

“It’s primarily economic desperation,” Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said in an interview. “People on the margins who get bad news in terms of a layoff and have no other place to go and they take a shot at disability.”

According to the CBO, about 56 million people will receive Social Security benefits this year.

(The graphic in this post is an excerpt from the CBO’s 2011 Long-Term Projections for Social Security. Click here to view the entire infographic.)


  1. Jimmy

    August 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Bottom-line , there are an awful lot of folks on this program who are not disabled, Half of Puerto Rico and over half of West Virgina are on disability because of unscrupulous judges and poor administrative oversight.

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  3. Jack

    August 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Your source of information on this is what?

    It is easy to make an unfounded statement, because of public bias toward social programs, but where is the evidence of the unscrupulous actions of judges and lack of oversight. Your indictment of the judicial process without evidence is as unscrupulous as you say the system is. You’ve revealed your value to the debate which is much ado about nothing.

  4. Jimmy

    August 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    The Wall Street Journal did a big story on the Disability Program, and you can go to their website and do a search if you want to read it. As for actual cases, I know several people who are healthier than I am on the program. One lady I know with a back disability bowls four times a week. Another who is “legally blind” drives a car even at night. Many substance abusers have been able to jump on the bandwagon also. You need to wake up Jack, and look around a few times, and it wouldn’t hurt to read something more than progressive blogs. You would be amazed what’s out there.

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    August 23, 2011 at 5:35 am

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