Study: More Americans on Disability than Live in NYC

A new study says more Americans received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in 2012 than the entire population of New York City.

Our Generation, a free market non-profit advocacy group, says in its “Drivers of SSDI Growth” report that a record 8,733,461 Americans now receive disability benefits. According to U.S. Census data, the population of New York City is 8,336,697.

“Despite its humble beginnings as an insurance plan for long-tenured workers with the misfortune of becoming disabled before retirement, SSDI has ballooned into a $135 billion behemoth threatening to collapse under its own weight, and to take a bite out of Medicare on the way down,” said Our Generation Executive Director MacMillin Slobodien.

The group says it plans to mount an aggressive public relations campaign to educate taxpayers on the explosive growth in the disability program.

In March, National Public Radio (NPR) caused a stir when it published a report that showed the federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it does on food stamps and welfare combined.

Even liberal New York Times columnists Nicholas Kristof concedes the disability program is rife with abuse and fuels government dependency.

“This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency,” wrote Kristof last December in a piece about SSDI. “Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.”

Indeed, for almost all SSDI recipients, disability becomes a way of life. As a White House report conceded, “workers on SSDI [Social Security Disability Insurance] rarely return to the labor force.”  


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