Mike Kueber's Blog

July 11, 2012

Disability in America

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 9:39 pm
Tags: , ,

The latest buzz on conservative talk shows is the explosion in the number of people in America on some form of disability.  (I need to listen to more liberal talk shows because I don’t know what they are buzzing about other than raising the taxes on the rich.)  One of the numbers being thrown around is that President Obama’s time in office has resulted in a greater increase in the number of people on disability than the number of people with jobs. 

A quick search of the internet reveals two major forms of disability:

  1. Veteran’s disability.  The VA expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year.  That’s up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.  Vets on full disability, with no dependents, can receive $2,769 a month for the rest of their life.  Vets with families generally receive larger benefits, and those that have lost of a limb or reproductive organ are also eligible for additional compensation, ranging anywhere from $99 to $8,000 per month.  Some 633,000 veterans — one out of every four of the 2.3 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — have a service-connected disability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Nearly 4 million people receive disability compensation or a pension from the military.
  2. Social Security disability.  In 2012, Social Security will provide disability compensation on $114 billion to 8.6 million workers, averaging $1,111 a month.

These numbers reveal that, because of their work-related disability, more than 12 million people depend on government to support them to the tune of $171 billion a year.  When you add in the 12 million people who are unemployed, you can see why the tax burden on those who are working will be ever more challenging. 

Of course, none of this information answers the question of whether too many people are receiving a government disability check.  That is the topic for another day.


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