- Reason Awakes -

The New Independent Party Blog

This Blog is maintained by Mike Barron, Executive Director and Founder of the New Independent Party. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Party, its Board of Governors or its Members.

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Disability Benefits under Social Security

Unfortunately, the cost of the Disability Program under Social Security has been exploding in the last few years. There appear to be three reasons for this: first, the criteria for disability were recently loosened to include a variety of harder to verify disabilities including mental health issues; second, the system tends to expand with long term unemployment with many of the long term unemployed using it as a vehicle for extending their coverage until regular social security benefits kick in; and third, there appears to be a very uneven and arbitrary system for resolving claims, with some administrative law judges being quite lenient and others more strict.

Obviously, we cannot afford the open ended expansion of yet another entitlement program. I would suggest that only forms of disability that can easily be verified be allowed as criteria for receiving benefits. We also need to standardize the process for resolving claims to make it tighter and more consistent.

We do seem to have a greater problem with long term structural unemployment, but expanding disability insurance into a long term welfare program seems to be both too expensive and counter productive in that people who go on it rarely come off.

Instead we need to find ways of providing cost effective retraining for the structurally unemployed, perhaps through cooperation between private sector employers and community colleges and technical training schools.

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