Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Weighs in On Social Security Disability Debate

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Weighs in On Social Security Disability Debate

In response to all the negative media attention currently being poured onto Social Security Disability, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)—a coalition of about 100 disability advocate organizations—recently weighed in.

The CCD was particularly outspoken against a recent NPR story by Chana Joffe-Walt:

“About 57 million, or 1 in 5 Americans, live with disabilities.  One in 10 has a severe disability.  No matter what Ms. Joffe-Walt may think, having a disability is not a “deal” that anyone “has chosen for themselves.”  Our nation’s Social Security system provides vital support to about 14 million children and working-age people with disabilities…Benefits keep millions of people with disabilities from deep poverty and homelessness.”

The CCD’s report (found here: went point-by-point, refuting numerous misnomers.  Sections of the report include (1) The Social Security Disability Standard is Strict and Most Applications Are Denied, (2) SSI Enables Many Families to Care for Children with Disabilities at Home, and Encourages Education for Youth with Disabilities, (3) Social Security Disability Programs Reflect Broader Disability Trends, (4) Demographics Explain Nearly All Growth in Social Security Disability Programs, and (5) The Future of the Social Security Disability Programs.

In this last section, the CCD makes an especially compelling argument against alarmists.  Apparently, now that the baby boomer generation is aging into retirement, their needs vis-à-vis disability benefits are shrinking.  The growth curve of SSDI has already begun to flatten and analysts believe that it will continue to decline.  Moreover, since 2011, the number of children on SSI has decreased.  And finally, the Social Security Administration has had to adjust tax allocations for disability demographic changes eleven times, most recently in 1994.

Thus, disability is not in emergent danger, and its struggles are not wholly unanticipated.

“Rather than waste time rehashing myths and sensationalizing understandable program trends, the priority should be on strengthening these vital programs to more effectively serve their missions: increasing economic security for people with severe disabilities, and enabling them to live independently and with dignity.”