Thursday, May 23, 2013

Are We a Nation of the "Disabled"?

It seems we are headed this way as our Social Security disability program (SSI) is booming and shows no signs of lessening in the near future unless something is done.

Within the past few years, we've heard of documented stories whereby train conductors in New York, have 90% of their retirees on "disability payments" instead of the regular state retirement plan in force (disability payments are generally tax-free). Is being a train conductor such a dangerous job as to produce this amount of disability claims or is it a scam perpetrated by the workers, their unions, and unscrupulous doctors , who write phony diagnoses? There are fraud prosecutions and investigations relating to this scam presently underway.

On the fedreal level, the cost of disability claims to our fragile economy will run into the tens of billions of dollars a year in lost wages and diminished tax revenues. A person collecting disability doesn't add to the GDP, he detracts from it. Many economists say relatively few people are likely to trade their disability checks for pay checks, in part because the program doesn't give much incentive to leave the program. Another incentive to stay on disability is that after two years, people on disability are eligible for Medicare health insurance - which is another government benefit that encourages recipients to stay put collecting disability. The nations burgeoning disability roster stems partly from an aging workforce: "Baby Boomers" bodies are breaking down, but "Boomers" aren't the only one's seeking help, of the nearly 9 million former workers receiving federal disability benefits, more than 2.5 million are in their 20's, 30's, and 40's.

Since the depth of the latest recession, and people using up their unemployment benefits, many opt to go on federal SSI (disability) to continue getting federal handouts.

Inundating the airwaves over the past few years, have been "baracuda" lawyers who have encouraged citizens to apply for federal disability benefits, and getting in on the fraud by getting a piece of the "money pie". One of the biggest lawyer groups who have reaped millions of dollars in fees is the firm of Binder & Binder. This is a typical case of "ambulance chasing" on the part of the legal profession. Last year, Social Security paid $1.4 billion in fees to disability advocates (lawyers).

When the government gets involved in trying to help people, it invariably screws up the situation due to the lax oversight by the government bureaucrats in charge of these programs. Another example is the food stamp program, whereby many people (at last count about 48 million) who ordinarily would not qualify, now are "gaming" the system and ripping off the government (which means you and I the taxpayers).

All this fraud is seemingly overlooked by the Democrats and the Obama Administration, as the more people dependent on government handouts the more likely they'll vote for the Party (the Democrats) who will keep the handouts coming their way. Is this way we (the U.S.A.) became the pre-eminent country in the world? I think not! Let's go back to ways that made our country great, with a hand up, not a hand out.

Conservative commentary by Chuck Lehmann

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Dan Meadows said...

No matter how much people on the left talk about compassion (most of it is just self-serving, feel good talk), they have no compassion for the taxpayers who are the "engines" that power our country. In fact, the top 10% of taxpayers pay 70% of the income taxes. Is that the fairness the liberals are always preaching about? You don't build up the poor by tearing down the rich.

James J. Pirretti said...

Chuck, the Dems have not overlooked this problem - they encourage it. I know of at least 10 able-bodied individuals - one who is only 40 years old - that filed for and got disability. The Dems love this because these folks don't have to work but get free insurance as well as compensation. When Obama took office about one in 19 working folks was on disability. Now that figure is one out 16.