There is no doubt that there are problems with the Social Security program. It is estimated that the program’s funds will be entirely depleted of funds 2023, if not sooner. This obviously has created a lot of concern and stirred up heated debates at the government level and otherwise. Those who oppose the Social Security Disability program, in particular, claim that a large number of the people who are receiving disability benefits should phased out of the benefits system and put back into the work force.
This may seem like a simple solution, but those who understand the Social Security Disability system know that it is unrealistic. There are many examples of people who are receiving Social Security Disability benefits who are looking for work and have a great desire to enter the work field. However, their disabling conditions are such that they are not readily chosen by employers, especially at a time when they are facing a job market that is flooded with 13.5 million unemployed. So the problem is circular – there is a need to get mildly disabled workers back into the work field because of the economy and the bankruptcy of the Social Security program, but the economy itself keeps the disabled from being able to find employment.
It has been determined by analysts that only about 18% of those currently receiving benefits could perform work of some kind. The rest are unable to sustain employment and thereby entirely dependent on benefits from the government to avoid destitution.
The biggest factor for the increase in the number of beneficiaries in recent decades is the aging of the Baby Boomer Generation. Most of us are aware of the phenomenon that has created the current Social Security crisis. Besides regular retirement payouts, the government is additionally paying out a lot of disability benefits to the borderline baby boomers who have not yet reached retirement age but are experiencing an increase in ailments and disabling conditions related to aging.
In addition to the Baby Boomer phenomenon, there has been an increase in recent years of people filing for disability based on physical injuries and mental trauma not previously considered sufficient to qualify for disability. This is due in part to increased awareness of the benefits available through the Social Security Disability programs leading those who are injured or disabled to seek compensation.
Because of the flood of Social Security Disability applications coming in, the program has been forced to spend more on wages and faces increasingly irritated claimants who are irritated with unreasonable waiting periods. The Social Security Disability program is in desperate need of change, but unfortunately the integration of those who currently get disability benefits back into the work force through programs such as Social Security’s Ticket to Work and other WIPA projects are proving to be challenging.