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Stigmas of Social Security system: abuse or age?

When Social Security Disability Insurance began, 16.9 percent of the U.S. population was between the ages of 45 and 60 -- which has now increased to 26.4 percent. With the aging of the population there is an increase in health problems and a larger percentage of the population is in the workforce, increasing the numbers of injuries. The SSDI system, however, has gotten a lot of bad press recently, with allegations that abuse of the system is the cause of the increase in the number of workers receiving benefits.

There is a perception that life on SSDI is easy or a free ride, however, most people make far less on SSDI income than they would if they were working. This poor perception of the workers receiving SSDI affects not only the reputation of the system, but also can be very hurtful emotionally to the people who have been injured or disabled and are forced to rely on this system to get by.

Social Security is often a hot topic in politics, and people often feel very strongly about the system -- unfortunately, that sometimes means that they feel very strongly about the people on SSDI too. Changes in the population due to aging are changing the circumstances of SSDI.

For those who have been injured at work or have become disabled, it can be a difficult decision to embrace their SSDI benefits. Despite the bad reputation the system can take on, these benefits have been well-earned through the years of working, and exist in order to reward hard work and ease the disability process.

Source: The Buffalo News, "Aging, not abuse of system, accounts for increased use," Jeffrey Freedman, Sept. 7, 2012

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