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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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To: reaganaut1

The dirty little secret is tons of legal immigrants get on SSD as soon as they can. Word is out in foreign countries. One common example is a legal Chinese immigrant applies for his parents to come over here. They get here and apply for SSD or SSDI and get it because they are old and have “something” wrong with them. They really have come here to retire. They have zero work history in America and have paid zero taxes here. So they finagle a way to get SSI. Free medical (via Medicare) and subsidized housing


41 posted on 03/22/2011 10:33:27 AM PDT by dennisw ( The early bird catches the worm)
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To: Graybeard58

I was acquainted with a woman who had been disabled for over ten years due to the stress of commuting from Fredericksburg, Virginia to Washington DC (60 miles). I’ve been doing it for longer than she’d been disabled by it.


42 posted on 03/22/2011 11:25:17 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: reaganaut1

Drug addicts and alcoholics, plus “I can’t work cause I’m stressed”.

I hope it goes bust.


43 posted on 03/22/2011 12:45:55 PM PDT by happygrl
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To: HeartlandOfAmerica

In the ‘70’s, the Puerto Ricans who talked to me about it thaought that the liberal benefits were Cold War related. I.e., buy off the island’s poor and not have to worry about “barbudos” roaming around in the mountains trying to do Cuba redux.

Maybe part of it but naked corruption is an easier explanation to make.


44 posted on 03/22/2011 12:48:02 PM PDT by Scanian (i)
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To: RockinRight

The Democrat congress passed a bill designed to do pretty much that. Only “Shiite” is the outcome they want. They are drooling over the prospect of a half dozen morre screaming liberals in Congress if PR goes for statehood.

Of course, there is a relatively conservative PNP governor in San Juan right now but he is a rare exception.


45 posted on 03/22/2011 12:52:28 PM PDT by Scanian (i)
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To: reaganaut1

It’s way past time to spin off Puerto Rico.

Let’s get the U.S. out of PR and PR out of the U.S.

Don’t go away mad, Puerto Rico, just go away.


46 posted on 03/22/2011 12:55:25 PM PDT by SharpRightTurn (White, black, and red all over--America's affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
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To: Gabrial
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.


With the help of a lawyer, it's all about what the definition of "is", is.

Walking the dog, and playing tennis, and riding the bike, are not "work". Those are leisure activities, and home duties. They are not the type of "work" that cause her undiagnosed pain. She very likely gets her "undiagnosed" pain when she does "real" work.
47 posted on 03/22/2011 3:03:48 PM PDT by adorno
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