SSI a vital program

I read with dismay the recent article by Eric Boehm of PA Independent on Social Security Disability Insurance.

The growth in disability insurance is hardly a surprise; it was expected by Social Security’s actuaries as far back as 1994.

The primary reasons for its growth are simple: the aging of the baby boomers into their high disability years, and the large-scale entry of women into the workforce in the 1970s and ’80s, so more now qualify for disability insurance on their own work records.

Social Security Disability Insurance is an earned benefit payable only to people who have worked and contributed enough to be insured – and who meet Social Security’s strict disability criteria.

Most people who apply are denied, and just about 40 percent are awarded benefits. Many beneficiaries are terminally ill – about one in five male and nearly one in six female beneficiaries die within five years of receiving benefits.

None of us knows when disability will strike.

That’s why Social Security Disability Insurance is there for people in their time of need.

Instead of tearing down this vital program with myths and rumors, we must focus strengthening it for current and future generations.

Rebecca Vallas

Community Legal Services