How Many People Will Become Disabled Over The Course Of Their Lifetime?
If you become disabled and unable to work, you can apply for federal assistance in the form of Social Security Disability and, if you are lucky, your own case will be among the thirty or so percent of claims that are actually approved at the application level. However, if your initial claim is not approved (and seven out of ten are not), you'll have to go through an arduous appeal system that can literally take years. And years, these days, can easily up to three years.
Title II benefits, otherwise known as RSDI, DIB, or more plainly, Social Security Disability, is an underfunded (manpower-wise), lumbering, and creaking contraption that does not serve the citizens of this country well at all. In fact, it doesn't even come close in this regard. During the unreasonably long wait times enforced upon claimants for the processing of disability applications and appeals, a percentage of these claimants, sadly, will end up loosing everything thing they have. And many of them, those that can afford to, will end up looking through the yellow pages to find someone who can assist them in filing for bankruptcy.
It is amazing that this situation goes on in a country like this. And it is unconscionable that so many citizens are "thrown into such a pit" simply because the U.S. Congress refuses to fund SSA at the proper levels. Funding is available, of course, for the issuance of benefits as are cost of living increases. However, the necessary funding to replace workers who retire or who quit from social security field offices is practically nonexistent (and a great many SSA employees already have the required "time in" to to take retirement).
How does inadequate personnel staffing at the social security administration affect the public? Obviously in this way: as more workers quit or retire and are not replaced, the processing of disability claims becomes, over time, slower and slower and slower. Work loads that were formerly addressed by X number of workers become increasingly handled by an ever-smaller pool of social security employees who, increasingly, become more embittered over the state of their agency. The effect on morale shouldn't be hard to figure out, of course, nor should the eventual outcome. As the social security administration continues to ignore its staffing issues, the likelihood is strong that existing workers, particularly those who are eligible to take retirement, will at some point begin to quit or retire in numbers that may take the agency to a precipice.
Unfortunately, the situation that exists at the social security administration is not well known, nor understood by the public at large, or the media in general. But it should be.
A UPI article states some pretty sobering statistics. More than half of all workers would be in the position of not being able to pay their bills (mortgage, utilities, food) if they developed a disabling condition that prevented them from being able to work. And it is estimated that approximately twenty percent of the U.S. workforce will actually become disabled for a period lasting a year or longer at some point before they reach the age of sixty-five.
Inevitably, if things are not fixed at the social security administration with regard to proper staffing for its Social Security Disability and SSI programs, the situation could go on to negatively affect the lives of millions of workers over the course of the next few years. And it is for this reason that the politicians we send to Congress should be more concerned, and should be made more responsive to the needs of the public, particularly those who need assistance at one of the worst times they may experience in their lives.
Return to Social Security Retirement Questions.