5 Percent of the American Workforce is Now on Disability

It’s the new Obanomy. If you can’t get a job. You can always get disability. The number of US workers claiming disability insurance increased by 22 percent in 5 years, coinciding with an economic recession.

1.6 million Americans got on the disability rolls, moving them up from 7.1 million to 8.7 million. And 99 percent of the people on those rolls stay on them until retirement age. And the total cost of all that is around 130 billion dollars a year. And some questions are being asked.

In 1960, some 455,000 workers were receiving disability payments. In 2011, the number was 8,600,000. In 1960, the percentage of the economically active 18-to-64 population receiving disability benefits was 0.65%. In 2010, it was 5.6%.

Eberstadt points out that in 1960, only one-fifth of disability benefits went to those with “mood disorders” and “musculoskeletal” problems. In 2011, nearly half of those on disability voiced such complaints.

Between 1996 and 2011, the private sector generated 8.8 million new jobs, and 4.1 million people entered the disability rolls.

The ratio of disability cases to new jobs has been even worse during the sluggish recovery from the 2007-2009 recession. Between January 2010 and December 2011, there were 1,730,000 new jobs and 790,000 new people collecting disability.

In 2011, 15% of disability recipients were in their 30s or early 40s. Concludes Eberstadt, “Collecting disability is an increasingly important profession in America these says.”

And like most government professions, including Newark city council member or White House Czar or EPA eco-fascist, it’s one of the few that plays.

  • JacksonPearson

    And no doubt not counted in Department of Labor as unemployed.
    Another Messiah Obama miracle!

  • SuicidePrevention

    Before modern public works delivered clean water and removed sewage, and before
    antibiotics, and before modern neonatal medicine, infant mortality was high.
    Infants who would have perished now live long lives. Many (not all) of them are
    impaired. So they can't work. So they go on disability.
    Any other questions?

    • Goemon

      We need more natural selection and Soylent green

  • SuicidePrevention

    BTW, antibiotics which save so many lives by killing bad microbes, are only now coming under
    scrutiny for killing beneficial microbes. In fact, the whole paradigm of bad microbes is being challenged. In the early 1980's, Australian medical researchers Robin Warren and Barry Marshall identified the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, as the cause of gastric and peptic ulcers. Since the mid-nineties ulcers are routinely treated with antibiotics which wipe out that bacteria. In 2005 Warren and Marshall won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for this. But, oops, now it looks like having H. pylori in your stomach somehow confers protection against asthma. So asthma is epidemic, and I'm sure some of those asthmatics are on disability.
    Has nothing to do with politics. It's just blowback. Normal with technological progress. Like the plumbing which made the Roman Empire mighty and great, but also doomed it, by lead poisoning.

  • Richard Of OZ

    Good Lord, you Americans are slow to catch on. Disability pensions have been recognised as a worthy means of income by our multi culti "immigrants" for decades, here in Australia, aided and abetted by the Lie-bor government we are currently having inflicted upon us.

  • SuicidePrevention

    Nick Eberstadt looks at statistics. But, his scholarship isn't wide-ranging.
    He doesn't make connections. Unless they are shallow and support his ideological predisposition.
    Most stuff just aint about politics and morality. I know that most denizens of this website (and greater Right-wingville) think we're all living in Torah-world where everytime the Israelites met tragedy it was because they turned away from the one true God. It's much more complex than that. Try kicking the moral indignation habit. Venture out beyond the echo chamber. Turn on your patience for the long, hard, disciplined work of real learning.

  • SuicidePrevention

    More than 99 percent of all SSDI beneficiaries remain in the program until retirement age…The program provides an average of $1,111 in monthly income to eligible workers with a physical or mental impairment that will last at least 12 months or result in death, according to Social Security.

    "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.

    So Disability fraudsters are getting on average $1,111 a month. I think that the Wall Street fraudsters, though far fewer in number, are raking in a far larger share of the nation's wealth.

    • cdnbn

      Mr Prevention, you sound so educated.
      Your point, though, about reduced childhood mortality rates resulting in massive increases in adult disabled claims is nonsense.
      Medical advances lead to healthier infants AND ADULTS (stupid diet and lifestyle choices notwithstanding).

      A stronger case could be made that having a job to go to, which requires on to rise out of self-centered, self-pitying idleness, is exactly what great numbers of the “emotionally disabled” need.

      As for Wall Streeters, though many are hardly saints,
      at least they are accomplishing things in a day,
      and the money that they earn comes from people who have freely invested,
      as opposed to being taken by the authorities from other people’s earnings.

      These sources you quote from sound fresh in your mind.
      Something you read in a course you recently finished, perhaps?

    • Ar'nun

      "So Disability fraudsters are getting on average $1,111 a month." In Disability, add in Subsidized housing EBT and maybe 2 or more people in a houshold with the same benefits, you can live pretty good off the dole.

      "Wall Street fraudsters, though far fewer in number, are raking in a far larger share of the nation's wealth."

      The "ster" at the end of the noun fraud implies action. Although decietful, at least they are working and doing something for their wealth.