Record 8.8 Million Receive Disability Benefits

The number of individuals collecting disability benefits has hit a record high 8,827,795, according to new figures released from the Social Security Administration. On average, beneficiaries receive a $1,130.34 monthly check.

The explosion of individuals now applying for federal disability means applications are being awarded without proper vetting. A congressional report examining a sample of 300 cases found that over a quarter of them “failed to properly address insufficient, contradictory or incomplete evidence.” 

In October, a West Virginia man was sentenced to spend two years in jail for having fraudulently received over $265,000 in disability checks. And this month, the New York Times reported that Appalachian hill country parents are pulling their children out of literacy programs to bag $689 monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks. The taxpayer-funded payments continue until the child is 18, when two-thirds are transitioned into SSI for disabled adults. 

Data also reveal that in the 2012 fiscal year, Social Security ran a $47.8 billion deficit.

As Terence P. Jeffrey explains, 2009 was the last time Social Security ran a surplus: "In that year, Social Security’s revenues exceeded its benefit and overhead payments by $19.358 billion. In fiscal 2010, Social Security ran a $36.8 billion deficit; and, in fiscal 2011, it ran a $47.975 deficit."

A December 2011 White House report conceded that “workers on SSDI [Social Security Disability Insurance] rarely return to the labor force.”


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