Given the high number of critics who routinely like to denigrate the Social Security Disability program as a bloated welfare initiative that materially depletes the nation’s coffers, it is a seeming imperative to usher forth a central truth regarding SSD.
And then reiterate it time and again.
So, once again, with the most fundamental feature regarding SSD eligibility this time being emphasized by a centrally important office working out of the White House, here we go: The government’s mainstay disability platform “is an insurance program that workers pay for while they are working.”
Nobody has ever qualified for SSD benefits in the United States as a matter of right; rather, only persons who have worked for a specified period and dutifully contributed a percentage of their wage to the Social Security Trust Fund can apply for and potentially receive benefits.
And, as is noted by the above-cited office (the federal Office of Management and Budget), it’s no easy walk in the park for any worker to meet the threshold requirements for SSD eligibility; reportedly, beneficiaries pay into the fund for 22 years on average before qualifying for eligibility.
And, of course, arguments that SSD breaks the bank don’t really hold water. In fact, and given that benefits average only slightly more than 30 percent of what most recipients earned prior to becoming disabled, the claim that SSD is bleeding the country economically can be reasonably termed as disingenuous.
Shaun Donovan, who is director of the OMB, and a fellow writer staunchly contend the SSD program, while ailing, is hardly out for the count. It can be shored up quite nicely if Congress merely engages in a bit of equitable balancing in the trust fund and concurrently starts attending to the business of really focusing on sustainable policies for the long term.