Writing at the Wall Street Journal’s blog, Phil Izzo notes that 2012 claims for Social Security Disability Insurance were down in 2012. Good news, since the program appears to have become a replacement for exhausted unemployment benefits. Still, the numbers of those receiving disability benefits is growing. For those who truly are unable to care for themselves, disability is an appropriate part of the public social safety net. When combined with help from family, friends, and churches, the disabled can live with dignity. However, what happens to those who enter the program raises questions.
Last year, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees projected the disability trust fund would be exhausted as soon as 2016, two years earlier than was projected just one year prior. That’s because even though new applications and approvals are lower, the total number of recipients is steadily growing. There were a total 8.8 million people receiving SSDI benefits in 2012, and though the rate of increase may slow, the number isn’t likely to drop soon. Once someone starts receiving disability, they often continue for life.
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