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Disabled Workers Should Be Retained for Fiscal Health

According to a new report created by the Brooking's Institution's Hamilton Project and the Center for American Progress, employers should be given incentives to retain disabled workers in order to avoid what has been called an unsustainable growth of people on Social Security disability income.

The study argues that there has become a rising dependency on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program which is partly explained by high unemployment caused by the recovery of the recession. The rising cost of the program is something that policymakers fail to address say the study's authors. The report suggests that there should be a "front end" of benefits that would allow employers to keep disabled workers in their positions for a longer amount of time. Because disabled workers would continue employment, the employer incentive would reduce the need of former workers to use SSDI benefits.

According to the proposal a private disability insurance package would be offered at the cost $150 to $250 per year. The cost of the private disability insurance package would be shared between the worker and employer. The private disability benefits would cover things like partial income support and rehabilitation services. If a worker wanted to apply to SSDI, the worker would need to be approved for the private disability benefits and remain on the private program for two years. After the two year time period and if the worker still thinks their disability is too difficult to continue to work with, the worker would be eligible for SSDI benefits.

Source: The Washington Post, "Report: Retain Disabled Workers for Fiscal Health," Michael A. Fletcher, 11/27/10

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