May 18, 2010

Disability Programs

Add a Note HereIn 1975, cash disability payments equaled 25 percent of all cash payments to retirees, survivors, and the disabled. Disability programs resemble pension programs in that their purposes are similar (generally, both are intended to maintain the income of workers and their dependents or survivors when they are unable to work), program finances are intertwined, and disability programs are sometimes used to substitute for retirement programs.

Add a Note HereDisability program trends indicate that cash disability programs have grown rapidly and that the federal role in disability programs has increased. Analyses indicate workers of all ages are being awarded disability benefits more frequently than in previous years. Per capita benefits generally have grown more rapidly than earnings and the difference in growth rates has been larger since 1970. Social factors also add to the increase in disability payouts. Society is doing more to support the disabled. More and more people identify themselves as disabled. There are indications that disability programs may be repeating the welfare crisis of the 1960s, the dramatic increase in beneficiaries largely representing a growing percentage of eligible persons claiming benefits.

Add a Note HereSocial Security Disability Benefits

Add a Note HereTo qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the wage earner must be unable to engage in any substantial activity by reason of a medically determined physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death or to last for a continuous period. Total disability exists if the claimant's disability equals or exceeds the standards as established and is documented by a medical report using the language required by the regulations. The Social Security Act considers age, education, and previous work experience when applying the disability standard. The wage earner also must meet special earnings requirements to be covered. The wage earner must have performed 20 quarters of employment in the 40 quarters immediately prior to the alleged onset of disability. The benefit payout begins on the sixth month of disability.


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