One of the disadvantages that disabled individuals often face is that the general public often misperceives what it means to be disabled. A broad range of disabilities may qualify an individual to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, in each case the applicant’s condition and ability to remain working is thoroughly reviewed before SSD benefits are awarded to him or her.
This thorough review process should be enough to satisfy the public’s need to understand why some individuals qualify for disability benefits while others do not. Yet, a misconception that anyone who is not working or does not care to work can simply live off of SSD benefits still seems to be permeating public discourse.
A recent study on this issue was conducted by experts at Columbia Business School and is now available for the public to read. The study is entitled, “Unemployment Insurance and Disability Insurance in the Great Recession." It is a particularly important piece because it thoroughly studies the assumptions that individuals may “mooch” off the SSD system by applying for benefits when they do not care to work. The experts at Columbia have concluded that this assumption is indeed false.
The lead author of the study explains that, “Contrary to the beliefs of many, even in policy circles, our research proves that the unemployed do not directly file for disability following the exhaustion of benefits. The evidence is just not there. As a matter of fact, fewer than 2% of workers whose unemployment benefits had expired actually applied for disability insurance."
Not just anyone can apply for and receive SSD benefits. Only individuals who are truly disabled and can no longer physically handle significant employment may receive these benefits. Hopefully this recent study will shed broad light on this conclusion and diminish the power of incorrect assumptions about SSD and disabled persons generally.