Federal Disability Claims Have Increased For 16 Straight Years
There’s a comic scene in the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” that could represent what’s happening to the country’s Social Security system. Only, no one’s laughing. Especially not job creators and employees.
In the scene, Steve Martin and John Candy are driving down a dark highway – in the wrong direction. Other motorists try to warn them, “You’re going the wrong way!” They, of course, do not hear the warnings and crash.
You can see where this is going.
When most of us entered the job market and brought home our first paychecks, we noted a small amount taken out for Social Security, somewhere in the neighborhood of six percent. What we likely did not realize, and many people still do not know, is that the boss has to match that six percent. That’s right. You and your boss chip in 12.4 percent to the United States Social Security Administration every time you get paid.
But it’s becoming painfully clear this isn’t enough.
It is commonly accepted that the only uncertainty about the death of the federal government safety net known as Social Security is not if - but when. Using data from the Social Security Administration’s own trustees, economists with Reason magazine predict that if left alone, the benefits to retirees and others will dry up by as early as 2036.
And it’s not just retiring baby boomers pushing Social Security to its inevitable dry end.
Sure, at around 64 percent, retirees get the biggest chunk of SS money, but another 15 percent goes toward disability checks. The numbers released by the SSA and reported by CNS are staggering: More than 8.8 million people get disability checks, a number that has grown for 192 months straight, or 16 years.
The problem, as with retirees, is that there are fewer full-time workers to cover the tab. Consider the ratio as pointed out by CNS:
-In 1968, “there were about 51 Americans working full-time for each person collecting disability”
-In 1997, ‘there were then about 24 Americans working full-time for each person collecting disability.’
-In January, 2013, “there were only 13 Americans working full-time for each person collecting disability.”
With employers and employees both footing the bill for these disability payments as well as all the rest of the SSA payouts, we should all be yelling, “You’re going the wrong way!” only unlike the movie, we need to make sure we’re heard.
Get more numbers and the full CNS story here
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