Social Security encourages disability payment recipients to return to work, in a complicated and highly regulated way. Thye can earnWouldn’t you know it: Just as social insurance advocates were breathing a sigh of relief that President Obama had dropped the obnoxious chained-CPI idea from his proposed budget, he sneaked another noxious idea into it. As the LA Times reports, Social Security disability is supposed to be a bridge to full employment. Its benefits aren’t intended as a substitute for wages, but as a supplement.
By law, disabled beneficiaries can earn up to $1,070 a month in wages this year without jeopardizing their benefits; the goal is for them to “test their ability to return to work” and ease their transition back into the labor market.
So now, the Times goes on to report, a new proposal is on the table.
“This one undermines the Social Security disability program in the name of “savings” on an unimaginably trivial scale. Worse, it does nothing useful to address the disability program’s looming fiscal crisis. That crisis is ignored completely in this budget.
“The bad idea is a cutoff of disability benefits to anyone who is collecting unemployment benefits. The underlying idea is that this is somehow “double-dipping,” and that people who collect both are just ripping off the system. The president’s budget language reflects that misconception of both the disability and unemployment programs — it refers to the goal of “preventing” individuals from collecting both benefits for the same period of time, and calls it a “reform.”