Social Security’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund is available to Americans who have paid into Social Security, become injured or sick, and no longer can earn more than $1130 per month. By 2015 the percent of working-age Americans who were collecting a subsidy from this fund stood at 5.2 percent, up from 1990’s 2.5 percent level. Because of this growth, Congress has periodically needed to step in and “rescue” the fund from becoming insolvent. According to Stephen Goss, Social Security’s chief actuary, the growth is “mostly a consequence of demographic change.”
An article that appeared in Bloomberg looks into mapping the growth of disability claims in this country across the country. The article discusses possible changes further resulting in this growth, such as how in some areas of the country disability benefits, although not designed to, function as unemployment insurance; or how in 1984, Congress broadened the criteria of medical conditions accepted by Social Security. It also discusses a reform bill which, among other criteria, would require more frequent reviews of disability recipients with non-permanent conditions.