Monday, March 05, 2007

Columnist attacks social security "golden disability"

The DC Examiner, Monday March 5, 2007, p. 15, has an op-ed column from columnist Melanie Scarborough, "Social Security provides tax-paid golden disability for job slackers," at this link. At one point, she writes, "The SSA's guidebook, which might as well be (en)titled "You, Too, Can Be Disabled" walks applicants through the steps to collect their jackpots."

Of course, this is going to create a stir. When I was a "baby buddy" for People with AIDS in Dallas in the 1980s, getting social security disability was a frequent topic in the information forums. And disability, for example partial blindness because of overexposure to incubators (a not uncommon problem for some people born in the 1950s) is quite real.

The problem, as conservative have pointed out, is making Social Security be both a welfare program and an annuity program. (SSA just administers the SSI payments; these are funded separately; Disability, on the other hand, is part of the regular SSA program.) This observation shows up in controversies over annual earnings limits up to full retirement age, and to possible future discussions about means testing.

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