by Richard V. Burkhauser
American Enterprise Institute
July 25, 2014
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is growing at an unsustainable pace. Since 1970 the number of disabled worker beneficiaries has increased nearly six-fold, rising from 1.5 to 8.8 million in 2012. This rapid growth in the rolls has put increasing pressure on program finances. Inflation-adjusted SSDI expenditures have risen by more than six-fold from $20 to $137 billion (in 2012 dollars) over this same period. Based on current growth, the SSDI program is projected to be insolvent by 2016. Faced with the same problem at the turn of the 21st century, the Dutch implemented meaningful reform that incentivized employers to accommodate and help rehabilitate disabled workers, in lieu of moving said workers onto cash transfers. The United States should implement a similar reform.

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