Sep 5, 2015

Social Security Disability Insurance at Age 60: Does It Still Reflect Congress' Original Intent?

     Paul O'Leary, Elisa Walker, and Emily Roessel of Social Security's Office of Retirement and Disability Policy have written an article titled Social Security Disability Insurance at Age 60: Does It Still Reflect Congress' Original Intent? I won't hold you in suspense. Their answer is "Yes." 
     Having looked at the legislative history of Disability Insurance Benefits, I'd have to say that it's impossible to answer the question. The program now is dramatically different than when it started but those differences have to do with amendments to the Social Security Act rather than anything to do with its administration. Sixty years ago there weren't even any cash benefits, for goodness sake! Of course, it's changed.


Anonymous said...

From the article:

"Social Security's test of disability is very strict. Benefits are paid only to those who have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that precludes any substantial work activity and is expected to last at least a year or result in death in less than a year. A worker must be unable to perform not just his or her own prior job but any job that exists in significant numbers in the national economy (taking the worker's age, education, and work experience into account). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which includes 34 member countries, describes the U.S. system (along with those of Canada, Japan, and South Korea) as having “the most stringent eligibility criteria for a full disability benefit, including the most rigid reference to all jobs available in the labour market” (OECD 2010, 89). "

And I thought it was easy to get disability benefits in the U.S.A ...

Anonymous said...

While I can't say the extent to which the system meets the original intent, it's clear that there's no better program in this country for protecting the dignity and well being of our seniors and people with disabilities. Without it we'd have a large population of impoverished, vulnerable people. I put that up with protecting our safety and building our infrastructure, as the most important things government can do for the people.