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Between 1996 and 2015, the number of working-age adults receiving disability climbed from 7.7 million to 13 million. The federal government this year will spend an estimated $192 billion on disability payments, more than the combined total for food stamps, welfare, housing subsidies and unemployment assistance.

[…]

Across large swaths of the country, disability has become a force that has reshaped scores of mostly white, almost exclusively rural communities, where as many as one-third of working-age adults live on monthly disability checks, according to a Washington Post analysis of Social Security Administration statistics.

[…]

“What drives people to [apply for] disability is, in many cases, the repeated loss of work and inability to find new employment,” said David Autor, an economist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has studied rising disability rates.

Continue reading:  Disabled or just desperate? Rural Americans turn to disability as jobs dry up

Related story:  Democrats abandoned middle class in 2016 election, Joe Biden says

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5 thoughts on “Disabled or just desperate? Rural Americans turn to disability as jobs dry up

  1. I have a sixty year old friend who got on disability because she basically could not get a job, so she exaggerated her mental illness, which existed but had never prevented her from working and she got disability. Since then she can work part time earning up to 800 a month plus she gets 1500 in disability. She’s done that for 15 years now. She often has more money than I do, pays no tax and gets VA benefits even though she was in the military for a total of three weeks. Sometimes I think the system is really broken. As a mental health counselor I wanted to work with VA vets but was told sorry since you’re not a VA vet and since you’re not a social worker we cannot let you work helping others, but then they don’t offer any one-one-one counseling or even many groups at the VA so you wonder, what is the point of a rule like that? Likewise with disability. I know people who desperately need it and I know those who abuse it. I don’t know what the answer is, other than if it’s true 35 percent of jobs are going to be replaced by robots within our life time we may start wondering, what are people who cannot get jobs supposed to do?

    • Yes, I know folks like that too. It’s a huge problem because politicians realized some time ago that they could get reelected by catering to big money interests instead of serving the interests of the people. What are working class Americans to do? Left dispirited and angry, they will desperately turn to radical leaders like Donald Trump.

      • Exactly. I think anyone who cannot make a livable wage is in a deplorable state of affairs and I half don’t blame them! This includes all the underemployed folk who may have all the certificates but aren’t given a chance in this world! So very true, everything you have said.

  2. I didn’t read the entire article — too depressing — but it doesn’t surprise me in the least that people will go this route. There will always be those who abuse the system, but I daresay the ones who have genuine health problems — and who are living at the poverty level — far outweigh them.

    Of course, when it’s time to “correct the problem,” the individuals like TheFeatheredSleep described are the ones the “powers that be” focus on so they’ll have ammunition to “stop all that corruption and misuse of funds.”

    People can be so cruel to people.

    • My interpretation of TheFeatheredSleep’s comment is very different. That some downtrodden, but otherwise able-bodied, Americans are relying on SSDI is just a symptom of a far larger problem. The real issue is the wholesale loss of middle class jobs that the families of these folks have depended upon for generations. Who’s to blame for this socially-destabilizing tragedy? Our elected representatives and appointed officials who’ve sold out to big money interests when they should have been working in the interests of all the people. Globalization didn’t “just happen.” It was implemented by intentional government policies. Labor-reducing technologies were aided and abetted by the same. The process is called corporatism. If a nation cannot build a reasonably healthy society for its people, then it shouldn’t exist. If the leaders of said nation cannot adhere to this goal, then they shouldn’t hold positions of power.

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