Disability Recipients Now Outnumber NYC Residents

Government continues grow in size and power at an out-of-control rate.

New statistics from Our Generation, a free market organization, show that more Americans now receive disability benefits than New York City’s population including all five boroughs.

The figures are unsettling.

The population of New York City is 8,336,697. That number has been surpassed by the number of Americans who received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in 2012, a record 8,733,461.

It should not be forgotten that many individuals genuinely need disability. But something is clearly wrong with the system when disability benefits continue to expand at a disproportionate rate to America’s population.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about disability benefits abuse last December: “This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire.”

MacMillin Slobodien, the Executive Director of Our Generation, said, “Despite its humble beginnings as an insurance plan for long-tenured workers with the misfortune of becoming disabled before retirement, SSDI has ballooned into a $135 billion behemoth threatening to collapse under its own weight, and to take a bite out of Medicare on the way down.”

Disability payments are no small expense for taxpayers. As reported by National Public Radio in March, the cost of welfare and food stamps combined is still less than disability payments.

And once someone is on disability, they usually never go off of it. A White House report said, “workers on SSDI rarely return to the labor force.”

Like other government assistance, disability benefits are well-intended but often end up creating dangerous government dependency.

What are your thoughts on this? Disability is necessary for our society to function properly. But is the government doing enough to stop fraud and abuse?