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Insolvency Looms as States (and Puerto Rico) Drain U.S. Disability Fund
Wall Street Journal ^ | March 22, 2011 | DAMIAN PALETTA

Posted on 03/22/2011 5:21:14 AM PDT by reaganaut1

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico—This mountainside town is home to a picturesque cathedral, a tobacco museum and a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Another defining feature: Caguas's 00725 zip code has more people who receive a disability check than any other in the U.S.

Puerto Rico has emerged in recent years as one of the easiest places in the U.S. to get payments from the Social Security Disability Insurance program, created during the Eisenhower administration to help people who can't work because of a health problem. In 2010, 63% of applicants there won approval, four percentage points higher than New Jersey and Wyoming, the most-generous U.S. states. In fact, nine of the top 10 U.S. zip codes for disabled workers receiving benefits can be found on Puerto Rico.

The SSDI is set to soon become the first big federal benefit program to run out of cash—and one of the main reasons is U.S. states and territories have a large say in who qualifies for the federally funded program. Without changes, the Social Security retirement fund can survive intact through about 2040 and Medicare through 2029. The disability fund, however, will run dry in four to seven years without federal intervention, government auditors say.

In addition to the uneven selection process, SSDI has been pushed to the brink of insolvency by the sour economy. A huge wave of applicants joined the program over the past decade, boosting it from 6.6 million beneficiaries in 2000 to 10.2 million in 2010. New recipients have come from across the country, with an 85% increase in Texas over 10 years and a 69% increase in New Hampshire.

Over the years, Puerto Rico's dependence on SSDI has grown particularly stark, exacerbated by the closure of factories and U.S. military installations, an exodus of skilled workers and a number of corruption scandals.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: disability; puertorico; socialsecurity; ssdi
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1 posted on 03/22/2011 5:21:17 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1

I get it. They hurt their back and can’t carry the Bananas to the Tally Man.


2 posted on 03/22/2011 5:25:12 AM PDT by screaminsunshine (34 States)
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To: reaganaut1

Well, duh. You get more of what you subsidize. If you subsidize “disability,” everyone has one.


3 posted on 03/22/2011 5:27:09 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Nadie me ama como Jesus.)
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To: reaganaut1

I have a mid 40s ex son-in-law who has been scamming S.S. Disability for the past 12 years. It’s very common.


4 posted on 03/22/2011 5:27:40 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Of course Obama loves his country. The thing is, Sarah loves mine.)
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To: reaganaut1

The abuse of SS disability on that island needs a hard look.

The number of people in PR getting checks is amazing. And usually there is no apparent reason.

Sounds like an obvious local corruption problem.


5 posted on 03/22/2011 5:28:15 AM PDT by Scanian (i)
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To: reaganaut1
closure of factories and U.S. military installations,

Didn't Al Sharpton protest down there with a bunch of libs to close the military base? Way to go.

6 posted on 03/22/2011 5:30:56 AM PDT by ladyvet ( I would rather have Incitatus then the asses that are in congress today.)
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To: Graybeard58; Scanian

It does seem to be very easy to get in some states. I remember that when I lived in California, I was always running into perfectly healthy-looking, active people on SSDI or SSI who boasted about how they had gotten it. One woman told me that she merely said that working gave her migraines. I kid you not.


7 posted on 03/22/2011 5:31:32 AM PDT by livius
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To: livius

You don’t have to convince me.

There is so much of that in PR that I have to believe that somebody is simply rubber stamping applications.


8 posted on 03/22/2011 5:33:21 AM PDT by Scanian (i)
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To: Scanian

The answer is simple.... they have some very good lawyers.

Unstated was the amount of the total take that goes to lawyers.


9 posted on 03/22/2011 5:38:28 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. N.C. D.E. +12 ....( History is a process, not an event ))
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To: reaganaut1

Welfare that lasts forever! Its common that welfare bums switch to SSI because it never ends. I remember a story about a mother in Arkansas about a decade ago who signed up fue to depression, and her 5 kids slid in with ADD. This woman ended up collecting $62,000/yr in a city where the average worker earned $14K/yr.
I have heard NO so called Conservative talk about reforming this lame brained program. Of course this comes from the same crop of so called conservatives watch several presidents bomb foreign nations without any regard to the constitutional vaildity of their act.
Notice how damn quiet the new tea party members of congress have been lately?

I pray for this Country daily, the level of situational blindness shown by the SO CALLED CONSERVATIVES is shocking. I understood the libtards were insane, but the fox is guarding the hen house...
(Climbing off soapbox and going to work to pay for this mess)


10 posted on 03/22/2011 5:39:14 AM PDT by JohnD9207 (John McCain is a proud Ted Kennedy conservative!)
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To: reaganaut1

I was willing to bet my home town was among the top 10 in SSDI recipients.


11 posted on 03/22/2011 5:51:26 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Go Hawks !)
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To: screaminsunshine

Yup. Doesn’t mean they can’t work a desk job somewhere, but why do that when you can get gov’t cheese for life?


12 posted on 03/22/2011 6:29:42 AM PDT by RockinRight (I once had my identity stolen. Once they got to know me, they gave it back right away.)
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To: Scanian

I can’t imagine that Puerto Ricans are that much more accident-prone than the mainland.


13 posted on 03/22/2011 6:30:16 AM PDT by RockinRight (I once had my identity stolen. Once they got to know me, they gave it back right away.)
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To: livius

Well liberal idiots give me migraines...can I get SSI?


14 posted on 03/22/2011 6:32:05 AM PDT by RockinRight (I once had my identity stolen. Once they got to know me, they gave it back right away.)
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To: cll

Thoughts? True or overblown?


15 posted on 03/22/2011 6:35:16 AM PDT by RockinRight (I once had my identity stolen. Once they got to know me, they gave it back right away.)
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To: reaganaut1
Without changes, the Social Security retirement fund can survive intact through about 2040 and Medicare through 2029.

Nonsense. They are both pay as you go programs and they are in the red now. The trust funds for these programs represent an unfunded liability, which is why they are included in the national debt of $14.3 trillion.

16 posted on 03/22/2011 6:41:43 AM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

As a new nurse, seeing all the YOUNG people in the hospital on disability was a shocker. Young, able bodied . ..definitely able to walk, talk, etc. On disability for chronic pain, or “arthritis” or some damn thing. Most were a bunch of lazy drug seekers, flying frequently to the hospital for the nuttiest of complaints. It’s VERY common.


17 posted on 03/22/2011 6:45:33 AM PDT by LibsRJerks
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To: JohnD9207
Notice how damn quiet the new tea party members of congress have been lately?

They are a small minority in the GOP Caucus

18 posted on 03/22/2011 6:45:51 AM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Happiness)
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To: reaganaut1

Insolvency? How could that have possibly happened? Did the printing presses at the mint break down?


19 posted on 03/22/2011 6:54:03 AM PDT by Hoodat (Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. - (Rom 8:37))
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To: Graybeard58
I have a neighbor that has been scamming the system for years. She hired a lawyer and convinced a judge she had “undiagnosed pain” that prevented her from working.

The “pain” however does not prevent her from walking the dog, playing tennis, or riding her bike.

20 posted on 03/22/2011 7:03:48 AM PDT by Gabrial (The Whitehouse Nightmare will continue as long as the Nightmare is in the Whitehouse)
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