Policy Discussion Questions 3
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal disability insurance program that seeks to supplement the income of individuals who are rendered incapable of engaging in any substantial income-generating activity due to mental and/or physical disability that lasts for a minimum of 12 months (Social Security Administration n.pag). Individuals who meet the criteria receive monthly payments that are calculated using the SSDI calculator.
In addition to the inability to engage in any substantial income-generating activity and the 12-month threshold, SSDI eligibility criteria also include the 65-year age gap. Only individuals that are under 65 years and meet the other primary eligibility criteria are admitted to the program. While a before-disability social security credit score of 20 is required for those aged 42 years and below, the credits of the parents can be transferred to those individuals aged 22 years and below. The accumulation period for the credits is set at 10 years prior to the disability (Social Security Administration n.pag). The disability claim is usually verified by doctors.
However, to reduce fraudulent claims and improve the integrity of the vetting process, a claimant’s Facebook and Twitter may be monitored. In addition to stringent screening measures, the number of SSDI applicants has reduced significantly since 2010 due to increased employment opportunities due to economic growth (Pear n.pag). This cyclical pattern in the number of SSDI applicants underlines the fraudulent nature of some of the applications. A significant proportion of applicants, as evidenced by those arrested for SSDI fraud, are out to live a good life by defrauding the government.
For a 30-year old individual who has worked for 10 years and earns $20,000 per year, the monthly SSDI payment would be $1,015. On the other, a 100,000/year would qualify the same individual for a $2,599 monthly benefit. The replacement rates, which is a factor of the actual monthly income is disproportionately higher for those with low annual income. The rate is compared to the actual monthly income, which is estimated at $1,667 and $8,333, respectively, for the two scenarios. The differences are determined by employment history and annual income. The structure is fair because it allows individuals to earn income despite their disability.
Pear, Robert. On disability and on Facebook? Uncle Sam wants to watch what you post. The York Times, 10 March 2019.
Social Security Administration. Benefits for People with Disabilities. Social Security Administration, 2020. https://www.ssa.gov/disability/