U.S. Senator Tom Coburn: Federal disability program costs out of control.
Depending on how the numbers are crunched there are about 14 million people receiving disability checks totaling around $175 billion a year.
If the huge number of SSDI and SSI recipients sounds staggering, it is. The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. Critics claim the system is “out of control.” The system, a crucial safety net for so many with legitimate claims, draws little praise. It is the next big entitlements program crisis. The Disability Trust Fund will run out of money by 2016, and then what?
“The growth is horrendous,” U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn has said, estimating that one in 19 Americans receives disability. Coburn serves on a Senate investigations subcommittee that spent 18 months investigating the disability system. Its report, released last fall, didn’t paint a rosy picture. The number of people receiving disability benefits is rising at an unprecedented rate and delays in benefits are greater than ever. Nearly 800,000 claimants are appealing denial of benefits. The Social Security Administration is supposed to perform regular reviews to ensure that those collecting payments still deserve them but the agency admits to being 1.5 million reviews behind.
Coburn and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, later sent a letter to the Social Security inspector general saying that they were concerned that some Social Security judges were approving claims at unrealistic rates. Read More Here.