The quintessential American dream is heavily reliant upon an individual’s ability to work and earn an income. Through the acquisition of a job, Americans are told they can move up the ladder and continue to earn, afford and spend more. What happens, however, when an individual in America isn’t able to work?
In many countries, individuals who are born with a physical or mental condition, suffer a debilitating injury or are stricken with a serious illness are often forced to rely upon the kindness of family and friends or face living in total poverty. Thankfully, our U.S. government established the Social Security disability program which currently helps an estimated nine million disabled American workers afford basic life necessities like shelter, food and clothing. Unfortunately, the SSDI program is expected to become insolvent by 2017.
In recent years, political gridlock between democrats and republicans has resulted in very little being accomplished in Washington. While Congress could easily take steps to reallocate funds to the SSDI program, political experts expect doing so will likely become a battle between political parties with democrats being forced to make many concessions to secure funding.
Those who oppose the continued funding of the SSDI program argue that recipients are simply looking for a government handout. However, these critics would likely be quickly silenced upon meeting some of the current SSDI recipients. Take for example, a 45-year-old mother of five who suffered a debilitating back injury and whose husband suffered a brain injury which also left him permanently disabled. Every month, the family struggles to survive on the $2,100 they receive in SSDI and SSI benefits.
The fact is that no one chooses to suffer a debilitating illness, medical condition or injury. For the millions of Americans who are or become disabled, a large percentage would not be able to survive if it weren’t for SSDI benefits.
Source: NBC News, “Disabled Recipients of Social Security Fund Face Hefty Benefits Cut,” Martha C. White, June 10, 2014