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Disability Claims Up As Unemployment Benefits Run Out

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By Doug Powers  •  February 19, 2012 11:16 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

The Social Security Disability Insurance fund will run out of reserves around 2018. As of now over 10 million people draw checks from it, and that number is growing. What could possibly go wrong?

Also, it looks as if claiming disability for mental illness is becoming the new version of extended unemployment benefits:

Being unemployed for too long reportedly is driving people mad and costing taxpayers billions of dollars in mental illness and other disability claims.

The New York Post reported Sunday that as unemployment checks run out, many jobless are trying to gain government benefits by declaring themselves unhealthy.

More than 10.5 million people — about 5.3 percent of the population aged 25 and 64 — received disability checks in January from the federal government, the Post wrote, a 18 percent jump from before the recession.

People who reach the end of their unemployment benefits and end up successfully turning to SS disability usually aren’t counted as jobless again as long as it stays that way.

From a recent Congressional Budget Office report (PDF):

The official unemployment rate excludes those individuals who would like to work but have not searched for a job in the past four weeks as well as those who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work; if those people were counted among the unemployed, the unemployment rate in January 2012 would have been about 15 percent.

Factor in many of the above long-long term unemployed who have been accepted on SS disability and that unemployment number would get even higher.

Can the government implement a system for calculating the real unemployment rate that gives politicians motivation to want to find ways to help get people out of a dependency cycle instead of into it? Just thinking out loud — ignore my unrealistic flights of fancy.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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