"Social Security Disability Insurance: An Entitlement in Need of Reform," a new report released by Our Generation, a non-profit advocacy group headquartered near Washington, D.C., outlines the rapid growth of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and offers ways to reform the program that would make the growing entitlement program more solvent and save taxpayers billions.
According to figures published in a release, 5.9 percent of working age Americans are receiving some form of disability benefit, either SSDI or Supplemental Security Income; the disability rolls amount to more than the 8.7 million person population of New York City. This number is only expected to go up over the course of the next few years.
Authored by Andrew Biggs, a former principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and edited by Our Generation Executive Director, MacMillin Slobodien, the study examines the historical role of SSDI, which has morphed from a program for permanently disabled workers with a substantial work history who were over the age of 50, to a rapidly growing program covering increasing numbers of marginally disabled workers.
"The rising costs of entitlement programs like Social Security Disability Insurance threaten seniors and the financial security of the whole country," Slobodien said. "Adding some commonsense cost controls is an easy and effective way can save taxpayers billions."
The report explains that moderate reforms to the way the SSDI program is administered could save roughly $50 billion annually by 2030, enough to erase around 11 percent of the total Social Security long-term total deficit, through the following reforms:
-Tighten eligibility requirements and conduct Continuing Disability Reviews of existing beneficiaries to reassess their disability status;
-Include greater oversight power for Social Security Administration by administrative law judges who make SSDI decisions;
-Add "experience rating" for disability payroll taxes so employers keep individuals with disabilities on the job and rewarded with lower taxes, while those who shift workers onto SSDI will pay more; and
-Require employers to carry private disability insurance to cover benefits for a short period until SSDI takes over.
Our Generation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization.
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