Enrollment of people in Disability Insurance (DI), a part of Social Security has skyrocketed in recent years. When the fact that the overall population in the United States has been living longer and healthier than in the past is taken into consideration a troubling picture emerges.
Why are so many men finding a career in collecting disability?
One reason is that the government seems to have gotten more openhanded with those claiming vague ailments. Eberstadt points out that in 1960, only one-fifth of disability benefits went to those with “mood disorders” and “muscoskeletal” problems. In 2011, nearly half of those on disability voiced such complaints.
“It is exceptionally difficult — for all practical purposes, impossible,” writes Eberstadt, “for a medical professional to disprove a patient’s claim that he or she is suffering from sad feelings or back pain.”
In other words, many people are gaming or defrauding the system. This includes not only disability recipients but health care professionals, lawyers and others who run ads promising to get you disability benefits.
Go read the whole review at Townhall for more details and numbers outlining the problem. The book A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic by Nicholas Eberstadt is available now at Amazon.com.
UPDATE: USA Today has a news story about the backlog in Social Security disability insurance applications:
Most applicants are rejected in their initial written request because they fail to supply enough evidence of a disability. After two rejections, their next step is an appeal before a judge. Applicants, on average, now wait 10 and one-half months in Arizona for those hearings. Judicial approval rates vary greatly across both the state and nation.
The average wait time for Arizonans who apply for benefits is 316 days, according to the Social Security Administration. That is down significantly from 450 days two years ago thanks to an increased effort to clear the oldest cases, but still longer than acceptable, say Social Security Administration officials and people who have waited through the application process.
In Arizona, about 8,900 people are waiting for a hearing to determine if they will receive benefits. Nationally, about 750,000 await a hearing.
Hat tip: Instapundit