Will Everyone on SSDI Have to Go Back to Work?

In some form or another, changes will be coming to the Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) program. Part of the recent budget deal requires eventual cuts and changes to entitlement programs like Social Security in order to find ways to save money. Even without the budget deal, though, something had to change, as the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) concluded that SSDI would be bankrupt in the next 15 years or so.

One suggestion involves helping SSDI beneficiaries start working or beginning vocational training as soon as they begin receiving benefits, rather than towards the end of their benefits. SSA does currently run a “Ticket to Work” program, but it is completely optional and provides financial incentives to beneficiaries who participate in it. The problem is few people use it. Slightly over 1 percent uses it, according to a university study.

How can the SSA improve the incentives to return to work? Should return-to-work programs be mandatory rather than an optional, incentivized part of SSDI? A problem here is differentiating between Americans receiving disability benefits who are truly unable to work and those who grow accustomed to the regular SSDI benefit checks and who are seeking to avoid returning to the workplace.

Given the problems the system has in determining who is unable to work in the first place, costs might spiral out of control if the SSA also added additional vocational resources and created several new levels of bureaucracy. Leave your comments below if you have any ideas on how to improve SSDI without making the situation worse for disabled Americans.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

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