Jul 12, 2013

Work Incentives Fail Everywhere

     Great Britain decided that there were too many people drawing disability benefits under their social security system. Their plan to deal with this was to get one in six disability recipients back to work. Their definition of "back to work" was quite modest -- holding down a job for three months or more -- yet according to The Guardian newspaper all they have been able to achieve is about one in twenty returning to work. If you were to apply that British definition of a successful return to work to recipients of U.S. Social Security disability benefits, I think we'd already be returning 5% or more of disability benefits recipients to work.
     Returning large numbers of disability recipients to work isn't doable, no matter what you try. I keep harping on this point since members of Congress keep pursuing the return to work dream despite the overwhelming evidence that they're wasting their time.


Anonymous said...

Work Incentives entail more than just trying to get people back in the work force. I know that getting people to work and off social security is a losing battle, but if you eliminate work incentives, then what, dollar for dollar reductions immediately? For SSI you would remove the $65.00 work exclusion and the 1/2 reduction. For Social Security Disability you would remove the trial work period meaning SGA would be imposed immediately. What about the working blind who get incentives? Do those go away also?

I'm all for removing all of the stuff thats not working just going dollar for dollar with immediate reductions but isn't that contrary to what al the liberals want? Wouldn't that hurt the claimant more?

Claimants are always saying they can't live on their disability check, why shouldn't they have incentives to TRY going back to work?

Anonymous said...

When I left SSA the return to work at SGA levels was about 1/2 of 1% of the total beneficiary population.

Despite that there was an incredible cottage industry of, SSA employees, private contractors and VR providers that were making a living off the work incentives, PASS plans etc..

SSA was never able to create a system of pay for performance that truly only provided reimbursement upon return to work at SGA levels.

Anonymous said...

SGA is over $ 1000.00/month. Thousands of people are earning up to $ 999.00 with no effect on their benefits--they are "back to work", but at a rate that continues their benefits. That is the best that can be hoped for.

Anonymous said...

If that's the best we can hope for, that people earn $999.00, that's very, very sad. That's a very low bar.

On a side note, it seems to me the biggest factor keeping claimants from finding work is lack of education coupled with the use of "the grid". As we have the shift to the baby boomers now and over the next few years, shouldn't we see a decline in awards? Don't most people at least finish school now? That may allow them to more easily shift to sedentary work later in life.