How Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) actually works and whom it helps sometimes gets lost in the negative headlines about the program, which seem to pick up during any budget crisis. You do not have to search for long to find headlines bemoaning the explosion in SSDI beneficiaries or claiming that it is a system that encourages people not to work. As a target, though, SSDI may not be the best one.
Statistically, SSDI is not the biggest target. There has been rapid growth in SSDI applicants and beneficiaries in recent years, but there are a number of reasonable explanations for this that we have discussed in past posts. Out of all Social Security beneficiaries, nearly 81 percent are those receiving retirement or survivor benefits; in other words, a large portion of all Social Security money goes to retired Americans and those with deceased spouses or parents.
Of the remaining 19 percent or so who receive SSDI benefits, 20 percent of those beneficiaries are children or spouses of Americans who are so severely disabled that they are unable to work. With the remaining beneficiaries who are disabled workers receiving SSDI benefits, even the most critical estimates do not suspect widespread fraud; that is, only a small percentage of a small group is willing to risk a federal criminal conviction, jail time and restitution for the sake of a little over $1,000 a month.
As the numbers show, SSDI benefits in general are not a big part of Social Security’s share of the budget. The vast majority of Social Security money goes to retired Americans, children who lost their parents, widows and widowers and family members of disabled workers. SSDI benefits may make a good political target, but they are not a good financial one once you understand how they work and whom they help.
On Wednesday, we will discuss another reason why SSDI criticisms are often off base – you already paid for disability insurance during your working years.
Have you suffered a disability that prevents you from working? If so, details on applying for SSDI or SSI benefits are available from a Tulsa Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys