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Investigative report reveals disability costs twice as much as welfare, food stamps combined

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Forget about the welfare mom, she's not bankrupting the system. Instead, have a look at disability programs. The federal government is paying out more than twice as much money for disabled workers as it is for food stamps and welfare combined.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There are millions of people in the United States who are genuinely disabled. As Americans, we are grateful to have a program that helps them to feed and care for themselves and their families. Nobody should begrudge caring for the sick and injured. While it may not be a comfortable life for them, at least it's something we can do for those who can't do more.

Unfortunately, the disability program is also paying out money to people who by choice or by circumstance lack education, people, or jobs skills, and are using the system to get by until they can find another program to draw from, or get back on their feet. The problem is, that's not what the disability program is for.

Wynton Hall has published the results of an investigative report on Breitbart, finding that the "'disability industrial complex' fraught with fraud that churns out 14 million checks every month to citizens the government has deemed disabled."

Hall quoted Planet Money reporter Joffe-Walt saying, "Since the economy began its slow, slow recovery in late 2009, we've been averaging about 150,000 jobs created per month. In that same period every month, almost 250,000 people have been applying for disability."

The problem is obvious. Many claims are fraudulent. Workplaces can be dangerous and people do become ill. However, nothing has changed since 2009 to make workplaces and illness so significant a danger that a quarter-million of the working American population becomes disabled every 30 days.

Somebody is fleecing the system, or at least trying very hard to do so.

This makes it much more difficult for those with genuine disabilities to obtain benefits. It's also bankrupting the benefit system, with Disability expected to run of funds out sometime in 2016 without new revenues or reform.

Joffe-Walt shared the following facts with Hall:

-    The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it does on food stamps and welfare combined; America's two largest disability programs, including health care for disabled workers, costs taxpayers $260 billion a year.

-    In some parts of the country, such as Hale County, Alabama, one out of every four working-age adults collects a disability check.

-    As of 2011, 33.8% of newly diagnosed disabled workers cited "back pain and other musculoskeletal problems" as their reason for being unable to work.  In 1961, the top reason for being disabled was "heart disease, stroke".

-    Disabled workers do not get counted in the unemployment figures. If they did, the numbers would be far higher.

-    Less than 1% of people who went on disability at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce.

-    The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program-which covers kids and adults-has exploded.  SSI is now seven times larger than it was 30 years ago.

Another part of the problem is that states are systematically shifting people from welfare to disability where the federal government rather than the state, pays the benefits.

Ultimately, the nation is losing its ethics and integrity as it becomes easier for people to work the system and fleece the taxpayers than to actually do work. This is despite the fact that workplace safety has only increased while technology now makes it easier to work from home and to be productive without doing strenuous, physical labor.

The downturn in the economy certainly has something to do with the problem, as the availability of jobs and the increase in jobs which require extensive education or skills has only increased. Still, the correct response for the individual should be to increase their education and value to society rather than surrendering to the cold indifference of progress and eke a living out of disability and other benefit programs that barely facilitate survival costing money, dignity, and productivity.

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