According to Newsmax.com, the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits have increased to the point that the system is going broke.
Federal funding from other sources, including incoming payroll taxes, covers 79 percent of disability insurance payments, which average $1,111 a month. But that leaves 21 percent uncovered if the disability insurance fund runs out of money.
Nearly 11 million Americans currently receive disability benefits and last year the program cost taxpayers $132 billion — more than the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor, Justice, and the Interior.
One in 18 workers receive disability payments from Social Security. The Social Security Administration will run out of money for disability at this rate in about 4 years in 2016.
The disability rolls have grown 23 percent since 2007, in large part because of the bad economy. Unemployed Americans who exhaust their unemployment benefits have been seeking disability benefits for assistance.
The disability program formerly benefited people with debilitating conditions such as strokes and cancer. But Congress expanded the benefits pool to include such claimed ailments as depression, back pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The program allows disabled workers to switch to Medicare after two years regardless of whether they are 65 years old or not! This leads to low-income workers without insurance trying to get disability and they remain in the program once they qualify for these benefits.
Disability status also makes recipients eligible for food stamps and other benefits. Fewer than 1 percent of those who start collecting benefits return to work.
Congress could curb spending on the program by demanding more aggressive screening of applicants and more incentives for them to go back to work. Until then, disability under Social Security, with poor incentives to leave the system, results in high costs and an unsustainable future.