SSA: Disability Recipients Soar, Funding Nearly Depleted Under Obama

“When politicians try to make reforms, they find people protesting in front of their offices in wheelchairs, so good luck finding 60 votes in the Senate. There simply is no political will at the moment to truly reform the system,” Tad DeHaven said.

Tad DeHaven

The number of Americans receiving Social Security disability payments has increased 20 percent since President Barack Obama took office and the influx of new recipients has pushed the program close to insolvency.

The annual deficit in the Social Security Disability Trust Fund hit $31.49 billion in fiscal 2013 and the remaining balance of $100.49 billion in the fund will be depleted by 2016, the Social Security Administration predicts.

“At the time this program began we were much more of a blue collar, manual labor society, so there was some real need for it. Today, we are a lot more white collar, we have better medicine and devices to assist the disabled, but those receiving benefits have nonetheless exploded,” Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute, told Newsmax.

DeHaven noted that applications for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, tend to increase during recessionary periods, but he said the program’s expenditures were an estimated $144 billion this year, nearly double what they were a decade ago.

When Obama took office there were over 7.4 million workers on disability. The Social Security Administration announced in October that the number is now more than 8.9 million, a 20 percent jump. Another 2 million spouses and children of disabled workers also receive SSDI benefits, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to some 10.9 million Americans.


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