The evidence is mounting, and the trend cannot be ignored. As Americans lose millions of jobs to foreigners and a collapsing economy, there is only one place left to go for a monthly paycheck. The government.
Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security’s disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.
Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can’t find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.
Claims for disability benefits typically increase in a bad economy because many disabled people get laid off and can’t find a new job. This year, about 3.3 million people are expected to apply for federal disability benefits. That’s 700,000 more than in 2008 and 1 million more than a decade ago.
New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security’s much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry as well.
Source: Huff Post
The American people have been left with very few options.
The only thing keeping the economy from completely buckling at this point are emergency programs like unemployment insurance, food stamps, and as the numbers suggest, social security disability.
And, while many in Washington and expert financial circles believe these programs will be enough to keep us afloat, consider the challenges faced by each:
- Unemployment insurance expires at 99 weeks. Chances are there will be no extension for those who are unable to find work, which means that once you hit the two year mark, you’re pretty much on your own. Not only will you no longer receive benefits, you’ll no longer be counted as a viable laborer based on the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ unemployment algorithms.
- It is becoming increasingly difficult to feed a family with food stamps alone. Some commodities have risen nearly 100% over the last three years, and with population increases and government policies in the energy sector, which fuel everything from fertilizers and the combines that harvest the land to the trucks that transport food, we will continue to see price increases. Food stamps already buy at least 10% less today than they did a year ago. Expect this dwindling of purchasing power to continue.
- The government is looking for new and innovative ways to manage social security. If the proposed austerity measures, which include raising the retirement age and means-testing benefits (not giving as much to the people who had their own savings accounts), don’t make it harder on you, then you can be assured that inflation will. As real price inflation increases, and government CPI fails to adjust appropriately, the social security checks will remain the same while the price of essentials like energy, food, clothing and rent increases.
It’s not just the Social Security Disability program that’s insolvent. It’s everyone and everything, including the whole of the United States government.
A brief visual overview: