Why Disabled Americans Face Fewer Jobs

by Staff | October 7th, 2011

Fewer disabled people in America are finding work, and more of them are collecting Social Security Disability benefits—so that officials now say that the trust fund for Social Security Disability Insurance may be exhausted by 2018.

MarketWatch.com reports, “In 2010, about 8.2 million people received disabled worker benefits, up 5.3% from the prior year. Add in spouses and kids, among other recipients, and beneficiaries hit almost 11.3 million 2010, up 4.8% from the prior year. The program’s recipients have more than doubled since 1980.”

Author Mary Daly, who co-wrote The Declining Work and Welfare of People with Disabilities, What Went Wrong and a Strategy for Change, told MarketWatch that she attributes this trend to easier-to-qualify-for benefits and inadequate incentives for firms to invest in worker rehabilitation and accommodation.

In addition to problems already presented by the Great Recession, Daly explains the increase in SSDI beneficiaries like this: “Over the past 30 years there has been an easing in disability eligibility standards. Now the typical person coming onto the [disability insurance] rolls either has back problems or mental illnesses.

“This is alarming because these are the two conditions that are the most difficult to medically determine. This suggests that we are leaving more of the decision for admittance or rejection to the discretion of Social Security gatekeepers. Rather than an epidemic of mental disorders and back pain, this shift is more likely due to an explicit loosing of standards in the case of mental illness and to a relaxation by gatekeepers in their interpretation of standards in both cases. This has lead to a substantial number of people coming onto the DI rolls who would not have done so 30 years ago and more importantly they would have worked, if they hadn’t been admitted.”

Read more.

If you’re a disabled American, have you had trouble finding a job?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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