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Archive for October, 2011

Supplemental Security Income And Food Stamps

foodstampsMany people who are on Supplement Security Income often have trouble making ends meet. Supplement Security Income is the cousin program to Social Security Disability Insurance. Whereas Social Security Disability Insurance is designed for those who have spent at least a decade in the workforce, Supplement Security Income is geared more towards those who have never been able to earn a wage due to disabilities. The most common individuals who are on Supplement Security Income include the deaf and blind.

How Do Food Stamps Relate?

Recent studies done on the food stamps program have shown that nearly 21% of individuals who are currently receiving food stamps are also on Supplemental Security Income. An even more disturbing survey shows that many recipients of food stamps actually have no additional income outside of government programs. This shows that there is a direct need to provide more opportunities for low-income Americans, including the disabled, to take a more direct form of involvement in the workforce.

Many analysts are worried that the long-term cessation of productivity, when it comes to Americans who have been out of work for a long period of time, will have a dramatic and long-lasting effect on the economy. It is important that all forms of governmental assistance to those in need, including Supplement Security Income and the food stamp program, work together to ensure that more opportunities are made for those who had few to begin with. It is worth noting that, on average, individuals who were receiving food stamps had an income of roughly $700 a month. This situation must be rectified.

 

Supplemental Security Income Not Meeting The Needs of the Poor

ssiMany individuals who are not eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance instead turn to Supplemental Security Income.  Supplemental Security Income is designed for those who require disability payments, yet do not have the work credits necessary to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Is It Enough?

For many Americans who are collecting Supplemental Security Income, the answer is a disheartening “no.” For example, take the case of Bill Ricker. He currently lives in Hartford, Maine, and his entire yearly income sits at $12,036. He currently lives in a trailer, that he bought in the 1980s, and spends about a third of his income each year on heat. He is too poor to afford to move and even too poor to afford many basic maintenance issues that are required on his home. Most of this money goes toward the rent on the lot where his trailer sits, food, heating, and prescription medicine.

The prevalence of fraud, when it comes to the disability programs that are offered through the United States government, needs to be rectified as soon as possible. Those who are truly disabled are often living well below the poverty line, because they are unable to work to get any other sort of income. The increasing amount of applications for both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance are worrying for those who are already reliant on these disability programs. If these programs are not saved, Americans like Bill Ricker are the ones who will suffer the brunt of the collapse.

 

What Can Make Hiring Disabled Individuals More Attractive to Employers?

hiring disabled employeesMany people are suggesting that in order to save Social Security Disability Insurance, more provision should be made to help those who are living with disabilities get back into the workforce to the extent to which they are able. The trouble is that many employers find the idea of hiring disabled individuals a less-than-pleasing prospect —not necessarily directly because of their disability, but due to the fact that the Americans With Disabilities Act requires employers to bear at least part of the cost of the provisions that must be made so that a disabled person can work at full capacity.

What Can Be Done to Rectify the Situation?

Many employers, once they find out that one of their employees has become disabled, actively encourage those employees to seek Social Security Disability Insurance. This allows them to negate the cost of providing the necessary environment for a disabled person to work. However, this ends up putting a greater strain on Social Security Disability Insurance when an individual who is disabled, but otherwise able to work, ends up collecting payments.

One of the suggestions that has been passed around is that when an individual ends up drawing on Social Security Disability Insurance payments, the employer must pay at least part of the cost of the disability insurance. In this way, it would become more economically appealing for employers to make provisions for moderately disabled individuals to work. Getting as many individuals as is possible back into the workforce is crucial for the survival of Social Security Disability Insurance, as well as the health of the economy as a whole.

Encouraging Employers to Hire Americans with Disabilities

working disabledWhen Social Security Disability Insurance is brought up as a subject of conversation, it is nearly impossible to separate it from the provisions outlined in the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Americans With Disabilities Act is meant to protect Americans who are living with disabilities, and one of the major provisions that the act makes is that when an individual has a disability, the employer must cover all costs relating to the assistance needed for the disabled person to do their job as well as possible.

What’s the Problem?

The issue with the Americans With Disabilities Act is that many employers find it prohibitively expensive to provide the resources needed for disabled individuals to do their jobs. While it is technically illegal to not hire someone based on a disability alone, this is often a de facto concern for many employers. After all, why would an employer who is concerned with the bottom line wish to hire an individual that they would have to pay out-of-pocket to accommodate?

Many experts are now suggesting that the Americans With Disabilities Act be modified in order to better meet the needs of both disabled individuals and employers. It is somewhat unfair to expect an employer to shoulder the entire cost of disability provisions. It is also not an economically sound decision for many employers. In order to get as many disabled people into the workforce as possible, it is important to strike a balance between the needs of individuals who are disabled and the economic concerns of those who could potentially employ them.

Loosening Social Security Disability Insurance Standards

benefitsEveryone is well aware that Social Security Disability Insurance is in trouble. It has been in financial peril for a very long time, and now the stakes are higher than ever. It has been said that if the program continues to experience deficits as it is at the current rate, the program could become defunct within the next five years. Many people are starting to question how Social Security Disability Insurance has fallen to such states, and experts are beginning to postulate that much of the reason for the failure in the system is due to loosening standards.

What Happened to the Standards?

Since the initiation of the program, the standards regarding who is eligible for disability insurance and who is not have become progressively lenient. To exemplify this, take this statistic having to do with the number of Americans with musculoskeletal disorders and Social Security Disability Insurance payments. In 1967, about 20% of those on disability were receiving payments either for mental illness or musculoskeletal disorders. In the current day, more than half of all individuals on disability claim one of these medical issues.

Also, the rash of child Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in the early 90s has also contributed to the pull on Social Security Disability Insurance. In order for Social Security Disability Insurance to be saved, there must be a restructuring of the system to ensure that only those who are severely disabled qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. In this way, less money will be spent on disability payments, and the money that is paid out will only be going to those who need it most.

 

Social Security Disability Insurance Throughout The Ages

disability insuranceWhen evaluating the problems that are plaguing Social Security Disability Insurance at the moment, it may be helpful to evaluate the history of the program and how the percentages of adults who claim Social Security Disability Insurance has changed over the past 20 or 30 years.

The Changes in Percentages

A government survey that took place in 1981 showed that about 7.3% of all Americans were classified as disabled. Of this percentage, 35% continued to work in spite of their disability, and approximately 32.6% of disabled individuals received payments from the government. This is a stark contrast with the trends today: while 7.8% of the current population can be classified as disabled, only about 22.6% of that percentage continue to work.

Many people blame the fact that there are higher numbers of individuals who are applying for and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance in the recessionary economy. There is some truth in this: when it is hard for able-bodied people to find work, the pressure on those who are living with disabilities is even higher. The task of those who are attempting to rehabilitate Social Security Disability Insurance is Herculean in scope, but so much of it depends on the ability of disabled people to be able to get back into the workforce when they decide to.

The best way to accomplish this is to attempt to resuscitate the economy and also provide work programs that have appropriate incentives attached to them. In this way, a balance can be struck between the number of Americans who are disabled and the varieties of work that are made available to them. Just because an individual has a disability does not mean that they are unable to work; however, the fact that there are fewer jobs available ultimately hinders the process.

Does Disability Encourage Individuals to Work Less?

disabilityWith Social Security Disability Insurance facing serious financial instability over the course of the next five years, many people are beginning to wonder what has happened to put this program in such dire straits. It is also common knowledge that traditional Social Security is also facing a crisis, but the situation for Social Security does not seem to be as troubling as the one facing Social Security Disability Insurance. Many people are beginning to suspect that the problems inherent within Social Security Disability Insurance are more related toward the policy that spurs the program rather than anything else.

Social Security Disability Insurance And Work Incentives

It has been said that if Americans claimed Social Security Disability Insurance at the same rate that they did in the year 2000, there would be 22% fewer individuals on disability insurance. Many people have claimed that the recession is mainly to blame for this sudden spike in applications, but other analysts are beginning to suggest that policy may be the underlying issue.

There is a cap right now on income that is allotted to individuals who are currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance. In the event that a disabled person returns to work, they risk losing their benefits in their entirety. Many people are now suggesting that the best way to save Social Security Disability Insurance is to reinvent the work programs that are attached to the program. This will allow individuals on disability to work to their full capabilities, while still maintaining some disability payments.

 

Direct Link Between Job Loss And Disability Insurance Applications

disability and job lossThe debate continues to rage when it comes to applications for Social Security Disability Insurance. There has been an accidental rise in the number of applications for this program over the past ten years and ever since the recession in 2008, the number of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance have risen even higher. Many people have been attributing this increase in the number of applications not to an increase in disabled Americans, but rather the fact that many individuals who lose their jobs are resorting to any way to gain revenue that they can.

Studies Confirm Link

More and more evidence is coming to light that the biggest problem when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance is not necessarily the flaws in the system (though these exist) but rather the lack of jobs. There has been a vicious cycle and the fact that there are fewer available jobs has produced more applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and in turn, there are fewer working individuals to support the stronger draw on these programs.

A recent report from MIT has suggested that the underlying cause of the problems plaguing Social Security Disability Insurance are indeed directly related to the economy. A report by MIT economist David Autor states that, “Workers are disproportionately likely to apply for SSDI benefits when they involuntarily lose work—even if their job loss is unrelated to their health.”

With this being the case, saving programs like Social Security Disability Insurance becomes a taller order. Do we try and raise taxes to compensate for the increasing number of applications? Many individuals have suggested that this is the wisest route to take, but it could result in a short-term outlook for a problem that is definitely long-term in scope.

 

How Much Money Will Social Security Disability Insurance Provide?

disability paymentsMany individuals are concerned with the exact amount of payment that they will receive should they end up being approved for Social Security Disability Insurance. The process required to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance can take an average of two years to complete. While going through this process, many individuals experience a great deal of financial troubles due to their disability and consequently inability to work during this time. Thus, the amount of compensation that disability applicants will receive is often on the forefront of their minds.

Will I Be Guaranteed an Exact Figure?

The answer to this question is no. The amount of money that you will receive by virtue of Social Security Disability Insurance is directly correlated to the amount of time that you have spent in the system. The longer you have worked, the more money that you will receive from Social Security Disability Insurance payments.

If you would like to figure out an approximate estimates of the amount of money that you can expect to receive by virtue of Social Security Disability Insurance payments, generally it will provide between 30 and 59% of your former income. Regardless of whether or not you end up being approved for Social Security Disability Insurance, it is very likely that in living with a disability, you will experience a change in the quality of your life. In order to make the most of Social Security Disability Insurance payments, be sure to make provisions for less income coming into your home. Most individuals that receive disability payments are able to make the rent nonetheless. All it requires is careful planning.

 

Will the Golden Age Return?

social security stabilityThose who were politically sentient in the late 1990s may now look back upon it as a wistful age of decadence. At that point in time, there was a federal budget surplus, a 4% unemployment rate, and most baby boomers were not yet eligible for Medicare. Is there ever a chance of getting back to those days when the problems plaguing programs like Social Security Disability Insurance were nonexistent?

The Outlook Is Less Hopeful Than This

The sad news is that many experts are saying that we will never get back to those days, even if the economy turns around. Healthcare costs have risen substantially since the late 1990s, and the population of the United States is continuing to age. These both have combined to change the outlook of the federal government in relationship to the economy in various sorts of social provisions in a very fundamental way.

The trouble is that, due to the nature of politics, no politician wants to stand up and tell his or her constituents that the only options are higher taxes, fewer social provisions, or both. The very fact that demographics are the way they are, and the way that programs like Social Security Stability Insurance are organized, means that the only options to keep the system going are higher taxes or fewer services.

It is very unlikely that the golden days of the 1990s will ever return. All that is left to do is reconcile our current spending and tax rates with the realities of the current situation.

 

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