Houston, We Have a Problem

We are disabled. We’ve got a national epidemic of becoming disabled. The ravages of (?) are overtaking our country. We MUST find the cause of disability. It’s become a budget quagmire.

In 1988, 4 percent of men and 2 percent of women aged 40 to 59 received disability benefits. By 2008, the men’s rate was almost 6 percent and the women’s, 5 percent.

In ten short years, the rate of disability has risen 2% for men an 3% of women.

Through the 1970s, strokes, heart attacks and cancer were major causes. Now, mental problems (depression, personality disorder) and musculoskeletal ailments (back pain, joint stress) dominate (54 percent of awards in 2009, nearly double 1981’s 28 percent).

Disability has become long-term unemployment insurance. An once ON disability, people simply remain … forever.

On average, recipients start receiving payments at age 49 and keep them until 66, when they switch to Social Security’s retiree benefits.

And reform? Nearly impossible. Why? Because it’s lucrative. For the lawyers.

In a series of well-reported stories, The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta showed that the system is open to abuse. But it’s also lucrative. Lawyers and other advocates are entitled to 25 percent of back benefits up to $6,000 per case. Their total payments approach $1.5 billion annually.

The disability program (ss combined with the medicare they automatically qualify for after two years on disability) costs every household $1,500 a year.

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3 Comments on “Houston, We Have a Problem”

  1. Steve B Says:

    Hater. You just want to push old people off cliffs in their wheelchairs, don’t you?! Damn clingy right-winger.

    I’ve never understood the ease with which people can get themselves on disability, and how long they can stay on it. I’m thinking that it’s not just the lawyers. Doc’s gotta be involved somehow…

  2. Car in Says:

    I’ve heard people say it isn’t easy, but I believe the determined individual can be resourceful.

    And – lawyers.

  3. Car in Says:

    If you google disability, you will find a ton of resources to help you with your claim. Lawyers get a cut of back-owed payments if they win, so that’s bank.

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