From today’s New York Times:
…Unfortunately, at this point more than six million people have been unemployed for six months or longer. More than one million have already given up looking for work because they believe no job is available. And a drastic rise in applications for disability insurance suggests we may be headed for more long-lasting trouble. The number of disability applications has reached more than 750,000 a quarter, according to the Social Security Administration, an increase of more than 50 percent from four years ago.
The disability insurance program provides crucial support for people who can no longer work because of a disability. But once someone begins receiving benefits, the likelihood that he will re-enter the work force is almost nonexistent; recipients become permanently dependent on the program.
The result is not only lost economic productivity, but also a fiscal burden for the federal government: disability benefits now cost more than $120 billion a year, and Medicare benefits for those on disability add $70 billion. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/opinion/10orszag.html See Op Ed piece here: