Washington Post: Jobless are straining Social Security's disability benefits program.

The article begins: "The number of former workers seeking Social Security disability benefits has spiked with the nation's economic problems, heightening concern that the jobless are expanding the program beyond its intended purpose of aiding the disabled."

Well, sure. That's one way to look at it, especially if you're a cynical asshole who expects the worst of people and assumes every person who qualifies for disability is already on it. But my guess is that, in reality, there are lots of formerly employed people who qualified for disability but never used it, as long as they had work. And when they lost their jobs and exhausted their unemployment benefits, they applied for a program to which they're rightfully entitled as a last resort.

Atrios also notes that disability is frequently "the only place to turn for older unemployed people with no realistic job prospects. It isn't a generous program, and barriers for applicants are quite high. I don't mean to suggest fraud is a big problem, just more that there are people who if they could find the right job situation could in theory work, but it's hard enough finding a job at 57 if you're in perfect health, let alone if maybe you're in less than perfect condition." (As defined by an institutionally disablist work culture.)

Still, it's fun to pretend that no disabled people work, disability is easy to get, and lazy people who hate bootstraps are just gaming the system. Wheeeeeeeeee!

The thing about that ol' American Work Ethic is that it requires the existence of jobs.

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