Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Surge in Disability Rolls Hurts All

The number of Americans collecting disability payments has reached a new high of 11 million. For every 13 workers in the United States, one person collects federal disability benefits instead of working. If a new state were formed with all of the people collecting disability checks, it would be the eighth largest state in the country. Federal disability checks are supposed to help those physically incapable of supporting themselves. But it is preposterous to think that all 11 million beneficiaries are unable to work. Americans today are no less able than 30 years ago, and workplaces have become more accommodating of disabled employees. Yet since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the number of people taking federal tax dollars through disability programs has more than doubled. Each month, there are 100,000 more disability claims than new jobs created.

Disability awards for heart disease and cancer have roughly the same frequency as they did 30 years ago. But benefits for mental illness have increased 177%. There is no reason for mental illness to incapacitate more workers now than 30 years ago. It looks like some able-bodied people are abusing the system.

Disability benefits are funded by payroll taxes. Job-creating employers and hard-working employees are bearing the burden. Each misleading disability claim is preventing industrious Americans from being able to support their families. The abuse of the federal disability system hurts more than the workforce. It also hurts the severely disabled, who really are incapable of working. The disability program is on track to go broke in 3 years. When it does, many veterans who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other legitimately disabled people, will lose their financial stability. Our elected officials need to reform the system so that the available money can be spent on the truly disabled.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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