Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Disability is the Most Common U.S. Profession

What is the most common profession in the U.S.? Is it teachers? No. Is it postal workers? No. The answer may not surprise many, but it is people on social security disability – 11 million strong and growing fast. This equates to 6% of the declining U.S. workforce. Do not get me wrong, I know many good people on social security disability who really cannot work. But there are many people abusing this entitlement. Fifty years ago, 0.65% of the workforce was on disability. And what’s even more troubling, people added to the disability payrolls today are outpacing jobs produced by the economy since 2009 by 19%. The disability payrolls are up 53% over the past 10 years. Applications for social security disability are up 24% since 2008. Today, social security disability accounts for about 16% of social security and Medicaid funding. It is alarming, but there are 1.65 people working in the private sector to every 1 person on some form of welfare assistance.

Part of what I said above is misleading because people on social security disability are not included in the U.S. workforce numbers. And this expansion of the disability payrolls helps to explain the drop in the U.S. workforce by 2% under president Obama. And this also works to artificially lower U.S. unemployment numbers. Fifty years ago, 89% of all eligible working age males were part of the workforce; today that number is 73%.

If we evaluate this issue a little closer it is apparent that there are millions of people associated with the disability system that are complicit with the alarming rate of expansion of the program. Applicants for social security disability need to be approved. It used to be hard to receive social security disability benefits, but it is much easier to qualify for these benefits today - meaning the government has really relaxed its standards to qualify for this entitlement. Today, nearly 80% of all applicants are accepted as opposed to fewer than 30% 50 years ago. Lawyers, who seek out so called injured people, are complicit to this issue. Many unethical lawyers would do anything to see their annual income rise at the expense of the taxpayers. Doctors are complicit to this issue. Today, there are more medical excuses for people not to work than ever before. Over the past 50 years hundreds of new syndromes and disorders have been identified and more and more people are being identified with these types of disorders – eating, drinking, substance, attention, personality, mental, and so forth.

Matt Rutledge, a research economist at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research says “We see a lot of people applying for social security disability once their unemployment insurance expires”.

The problem with social security disability payrolls is they have become a permanent solution to many, not a temporary one. About 700,000 people drop off social security disability payrolls each year, but nearly half of these cases are because people have reached retirement age or have died.

A big liberal complaint about welfare assistance is it does not provide enough to help people in poverty. They say food stamp assistance only amounts to $1.75 per meal. I have heard them say “Let me see you live off $1.75 per meal!” My wife and I life on about $19 dollars per day for food and if food stamps only covered $10.50 per day (for 3 meals for both of us) then our out of pocket expense would $8.50 per day. Food stamp assistance is not meant to compensate families 100% for what they consume. If food stamps covered 100% of our meals than what is the incentive to work at all? The same goes for social security disability benefits. I qualify to collect $2,400 dollars a month of social security benefits – enough so I do not have to work. As I have written before, I am 100% certain I could qualify for these benefits (chronic neurological disorder) if I applied, but I would never expect my neighbors to pay my bills.


  1. Excellent post, Patrick! You did a great job of laying out the stats to explain the problem. I think even a liberal could understand it, although they would never have the good character to admit to their part in this tragedy.

    There are those who are truly needy and there are those who are just greedy. When the money runs out because of the greedy, it will be the truly needy who suffer. That is the legacy of liberalism.

    1. Thanks CW, it is certainly becoming a glaring issue.

      That is not a good legacy for any belief.