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SSDI data shows more Americans dependent on disability

The Social Security Disability Insurance program is designed to create a 'safety net' for people who are physically limited due to disability in finding work or being able to provide fully for themselves. Since January 2009, nearly 5.9 million people have been added to the SSDI program -- in 2011, benefits were paid out to 8.3 million disabled workers in total.

Recently, a Senate committee investigation revealed concerns about disability claims approval after a report found that a quarter of reports failed to address "insufficient, contradictory, and incomplete evidence," which contributed to the increase in beneficiaries.

The report also found a high number of misuses of medical listings with examples of where the agency failed to appropriately prove how the applicant met the required criteria. According to an analysis of the report from George Mason University, for each person wrongly added to the disability program, it costs taxpayers at least $300,000. That amount is the average total lifetime cost of a single disability award.

For those who are disabled and in need of SSDI benefits, either long-term or short-term, these allegations should be of concern. If there are people who are taking advantage of gaps in the system -- whether caused by oversight or by sheer number of applications -- that means there could be less resources for those who are truly in need. An attorney experienced in the Social Security system can aid families in need of disability benefits in order to ensure that the correct benefit is given.

Source: The Mercatus Center, George Mason University, "More Americans Dependent on Disability, Longer," Veronique de Rungy, Oct. 1, 2012

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