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Archive for December, 2010

What Does Social Security Administration Mean by Disability?

Monday, December 27th, 2010

The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of disability. For an individual to qualify for benefits they must meet total disability. No benefits are available for partial or short-term disability.

Under Social Security, disability comes from an individual’s inability to work. The agency determined the following before forming a decision:

The individual is unable to perform the same work they did before.

Social Security Administration decides that the individual cannot adjust to other work because of a medical condition(s).

The individual’s disability has lasted for at least one year or result in death.

The Social Security program has the strictest rules for disability benefits and is not similar to other programs available. SSA assumes a family has other resources and access to other agencies for short-term disabilities, included but not limited to insurance, workers’ compensation and personal savings.

Incentive for Disabled Worker Retention Suggested

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Can the unsustainable increase in the number of people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits be slowed if employers get incentives to keep disabled workers on the payroll?

The cost of the Social Security Disability Insurance program has gone from $40 billion in 1989 to $121 billion in 2009.

Approximately 10% of the job population reported disabilities in both 1989 and 2009, yet enrollment in SSDI has increased as working age adults who receive the benefits has doubled to 4.6%.

Declining rewards for most skilled workers may be behind increase of the disabled workers who are applying for benefits. As their jobs are disappearing, people with disabilities are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Half of all disability applicants will eventually be approved for the program.

The Brookings institution’s Hamilton Project and the Center for American Progress suggests that if the government created incentives the employers would keep disabled workers on the payroll. Their suggestion is that workers and employers each share the premiums of private disability insurance. The private disability insurance packages run between 150 and $250 a year.

Approval for new benefits for a private policy would be required before workers could go into the Federal disability program. Partial income support money that would help with rehabilitation services and other services would be paid by these benefits.

Once a worker got two years of the private payments they could apply for Social Security disability insurance if they are still unable to work.

Baby Boomer‘s Facing Delayed Retirement

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

As Congress seeks to cut the deficit in a number or imaginative ways a proposal has been submitted to delay the retirement age. This action would put many baby boomers in the position of not being eligible for Social Security benefits at 62. At this time, that is the age when most Americans can retire with full benefits. The plan that has been submitted to the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform calls for a rise in the retirement age indexed by longevity with the age going up to 67 by 2050 and 69 by 2075. Really, how many baby boomers are going to be alive in 2050 to get their retirement benefits?

Essentially this proposal has gotten baby boomers up in arms about the future generations because at this time the retirement age will only be rising by a year or two apparently. But the possibility of making the elderly population continue working past the reasonable age of retirement may lead to more of those workers applying for disability income which could quite possibly cause the increased disability costs to exceed the amount saved by delaying retirement.

Baby boomers may be experiencing the health problems related to aging as well as facing age discrimination. In this economy the unemployment rates keep climbing and when an older worker gets laid off or fired it is very difficult for them to find a new job.

The AARP reports that the members of the association are supportive of Congress’ attempt to lower the deficit and rein in spending, but believe that raising the wage cap would be a better alternative than delaying retirement.

SSDI Becomes a Budgetary Burden

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Originally designed to be a tailored program to assist individuals with disabilities who could no longer work has turned into a huge budgetary burden that seems to be run more like an unemployment fund. The SSDI program has seen an increase of individuals claiming benefits in the past two years of recession and unemployment. Basically this makes it seem that despite the rigorous application process and strict regulations of the SSDI program that apparently many people are abusing the system to obtain government benefits. Unlike unemployment benefits there is to time limit to this coverage because people who are approved for SSDI are generally assumed to be permanently disabled to an extent that keeps them from maintaining employment.

Over the past 50 years there have been so many advances medically and in rehabilitative technology as well as a trend away from physically exertive jobs that many people who once were considered disabled and unable to work would now be able to retain some sort of employment. Yet the SSDI program has not changes its coverage policies or the rules to adapt to these advances.
There are propositions being submitted to add essentially private sector disability insurance to employer’s benefits which would cover up to 2 years of disability benefits, before an employee would be allowed to apply for SSDI.

There is no easy answer but it’s clear to see that something needs to change in the SSDI program or every worker who has a slight disability that hinders their work performance will be let go by their employer because there are many unemployed workers to take their place. These disabled workers will then be able to sit back and collect a monthly payment for the rest of their lives without ever having to seek another type of employment or go through any evaluations of their disability once approved.