Skip to comments.Disability numbers on the rise (The new welfare office Social Security)
Posted on 09/14/2010 1:55:38 PM PDT by goldendays
Disability numbers on the rise by Jared Hunt Daily Mail Capitol Reporter Advertiser
CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The percentage of West Virginians receiving Social Security Disability benefits ranks highest in the nation, according to data from the Social Security Administration.
In an August report, the agency said 91,273 people - 5.02 percent of the state's population - are considered disabled workers.
Following West Virginia in the rankings were Arkansas, at 4.44 percent; Kentucky, 4.41 percent; Alabama, 4.34 percent; and Mississippi, 4.11 percent.
Another 14,835 West Virginians were listed as dependent spouses or children of those on disability, bringing total beneficiaries to 106,108.
The number of disabled workers in the state has increased sharply over the past few years, in keeping with a national trend.
The figure has risen by more than 34 percent since 2002, when it stood at 67,905.
More than $108.5 million in disability payments were made to state residents last year, with the average monthly amount $1,128.
State Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, who worked as a surgeon for 28 years, said the state's high ranking can be attributed to poor health habits.
"We have an unhealthy population," Foster said. "We have the highest percentage of people with chronic disabilities, whether that's disabilities that are incurred in the workplace or related to chronic diseases that have occurred because of unhealthy habits of one sort or another."
Foster said the state's high rates of obesity and smoking are key contributing factors to non-work-related disabilities.
"Those few things there add up to a lot of issues related to complications of diabetes, chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure and cancer, so it would be shocking if we weren't at the top of the list based on those other recognized problems."
While there are state-specific issues keeping disability claims high, West Virginia's rise in claims also is part of a much larger national trend.
Disability program expenditures increased seven-fold from an inflation-adjusted $18 billion to $124 billion between 1970 and 2009.
A July report by the Congressional Budget Office says the disability program is "not financially sustainable." Its study found that should current trends continue, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which is financed through a 1.8 percent payroll tax, will be exhausted by 2018.
The study found the lack of jobs is a key contributor to rising rates of disability applications.
"When opportunities for employment are plentiful, some people who could qualify for DI benefits find working more attractive," the report said. "Conversely, when employment opportunities are scarce, some of those people participate in the DI program instead."
Researchers found that applications increased immediately following the onset of the recessions of the early 1990s and 2001. It also found that beneficiaries remained on disability even after the economy improved.
"Many people who have been out of the labor force for extended periods find it difficult to return to work, and new beneficiaries rarely leave the DI program to return to work simply because the economy has improved," the budget office said.Tuesday September 7, 2010 Disability numbers on the rise by Jared Hunt Daily Mail Capitol Reporter Page 2 of 2 Advertiser
The trend is predicted to continue.
"CBO projects that as a result of the most recent recession, the number of DI beneficiaries will continue to rise over the next few years by more than otherwise would have occurred, contributing to the long-term trend of rising enrollment already underway."
The report also cited changes in federal policy, including a 1984 Disability Benefits Reform Act, which expanded ways individuals could qualify for the program, as well a reduction in funding for disability reviews, which determine if a person's medical state has changed to a point where they no longer qualify.
Decreased funding resulted in a 65 percent decline in disability reviews between 2003 and 2008. An estimated 1.5 million reviews are on backlog.
The Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General estimates disability outlays will be between $556 million and $1.1 billion higher nationwide as a result of the review backlog.
The budget office's study found that people's lack of private health insurance was a contributing factor toward their decision to apply for disability, since disabled dependents are covered by Medicare after a 24-month waiting period.
The report said it is unclear if recently enacted national heath care reform will result in a drop in beneficiaries. The changes are to make it easier for disability applicants to obtain subsidized, lower-cost insurance while they are in the 24-month waiting period for Medicare.
Regardless of the national issues, Foster said there are actions the state could take to reduce West Virginia's high number of disabled residents.
"The solution is, of course, to try to do what we can to make people healthier and to try to improve the economy so that there are more jobs," he said.
"If people had more opportunities for future employment, that would help, but getting a healthier population has so many benefits for the state.
"While people argue that it comes down to personal responsibility, there are things we can do to make it easier for someone to be personally responsible. It's a collaboration, in my view."
Foster said the state could provide better education about nutrition and exercise and more access to recreational activities. Improving the state's networks of trails and sidewalks could encourage better behaviors, he added.
He believes increasing the cigarette tax could be effective in limiting smoking-related chronic illness.
"Just increasing the cigarette tax a measurable amount, there'd be benefits you could account for," he said.
"And having an aggressive initiative to make people become more active and eat better - changing behaviors is not easy, but there are communities around the county that have done a better job than we have.
"We're paying the price."
I know someone right now who gets disability and even though he does have some health issues it doesn’t stop him from being a crack head and that is where his money goes. Makes me sooooo mad.
I was doing some work in a doctor’s office recently, and one of their nurses was telling me about how they see LOTS of patients that show up trying to get the doctor to help them get on SS Disability. The doctor wouldn’t go along with it, and the nurse said that the patient left angry, saying they would find a doctor that WOULD. It’s the new ‘American Dream’ around here. Get on disability, get the ‘food stamp’ card, free rent, and you’re set for life. I’m sure this is going on everywhere.
My wife has a relative that is pretty much like that. We calculated that the leach gets around $30,000 per year in government handouts, between her and her three bastard children.
We are so screwed.....
Keep those fat checks rolling in!!!
I have a neighbor who gets disability and for the life of me there is absolutely nothing wrong with her that I can tell. It turns out she hired a lawyer and expert witnesses and sued to prove she had fibromyalgia. She is one of the most active people I know and has never complained about any pain to me. I think she is simply gaming the system.
I always heard of disability refered to as “white man’s welfare.”
Fat girl down the street, got knocked up her junior year in school by a druggie, that has now spent about 12 years in jail during his marriage, oldest kid is about fourteen, but she has three, never worked a day in her life , husband is still a pot head and she applies for disability.
This is one area in which I think there is some misinformation. When I first graduated from college, I worked for a year as a claims rep for Social Security.
Social Security disability is one of the hardest to qualify for of any. I think something like 90 percent are turned down initially and not all that many qualify eventually.
I work in a bank.
I can almost pick out the fake-disabled ones. What’s funny is the TRULY disabled seem to still work a job, somewhere, unless they’re over 60 or so and mostly retired anyway.
What I’m talking about are the 30-somethings (and younger) who, aside from being kinda stupid, don’t seem to have anything wrong with them. Sure, people can have spinal injuries, mental problems, or fatigue issues that are far greater than one can see with the eye, etc. The ones I’m talking about though, they all have the same personality - dumb, history of drugs, live in trailer parks (no offense to others in trailer parks), not particularly attractive, etc.
I believe the law states that as long as you’re medically unable to do your chosen profession, you’re “disabled.”
So if you were a construction worker, and lost a leg, you can’t work in the field anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sit at a desk as an analyst, or design something on a computer, or even drive a modified vehicle, or whatever.
Disability pays what, $1600 a month? You can’t tell me that most of these people can’t find SOMETHING they can do, even part-time, telework, whatever, that can pay them that much.
FWIW fibromyalgia is a real disorder, but crap like that is one reason people tend to believe it’s not.
And many of us with a disability cannot and will not qualify because of the leeches. They need to reform the rolls, and ‘obesity’ shouldn’t be a disability.
If I could fix myself, you should bet that I would, but I don’t have an option there. I have to deal with it.
“Whats funny is the TRULY disabled seem to still work a job, somewhere, unless theyre over 60 or so and mostly retired anyway.”
We want to contribute and anyone who gives us a blasted chance will be rewarded. The best thing for truly disabled folks is to find them a job where the talents they do have can be put to use.
Businesses benefit and people with disabilities benefit. Instead we all end up paying 1200 a month to these leeches who scam the system.
I don't have much experience with this, but it seems there is a whole industry out there that helps people game the system.
I don't have much experience with this, but it seems there is a whole industry out there that helps people game the system.
“I always heard of disability refered to as white mans welfare.
That may be, but wait until being a minority is deemed a disability in this “racist” country of ours. With 40+% of black teens unemployed, that’s a rather size “target population” for the Dems to get on the permanent dole.
I was going to the store yesterday and a car with a handicap tag zooms into a handicapped spot and the sole occupant jumps out and literally runs into the store almost knocking me down in the process!
What the heck is up with that?
when it became a “disability” to be fat/lazy, it became welfare, even if it comes from social security... I see people everyday with handicapped car signs because they are downright Fat,Fat, Fat and can’t walk far because of it.
It’s all about general laziness/desire.
Unless someone has just a terrible disability where they are literally bedridden, even folks who are ‘disabled’ can find SOMETHING to do, if they REALLY want to. It’s all about desire.
On the other hand, you have your lazy 20/30 somethings(as you mentioned) that don’t WANT to work. They WANT to be disabled, and that’s what they will be, come hell or high water. SS Disability is the ticket to ‘freedom’ in their worthless minds. Then they line up the rest of the government handouts. I’m SURE many of them also do a bit of work for cash under the table in order to buy drugs and or playing around/party money.
All of it enabled by politicians who take advantage of the fact that a large number of their constituents can vote themselves access to our Treasury, and by extension, OUR wallets.
I seriously believe that if people don’t pay federal taxes, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote in federal elections! It would take a Constitutional amendment for such a thing to come to pass, and any politician ballsy enough to make such a suggestion would be demonized and practically run off the planet.
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