The federal government will spend an estimated $192 billion on disability payments this year, which is more than what will be spent on food stamps, welfare, housing subsidies, and unemployment combined. The significant rise of the number of people on disability over the last two decades has further highlighted the gap between urban and rural America. Rural America experienced the most rapid increase in disability rates over the last decade, according to an analysis discussed in this Washington Post article.
“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. “Many people who are applying would say, ‘Look, I would like to work, but no one would employ me.’ ”
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