The Social Security program Congress instituted to incentivize employers to hire workers on the disability roll has completely failed to live up to expectations, the Washington Examiner reports.
The program, called Ticket to Work, was originally created in 1999 as a solution to move people off the expanding disability rolls and back into the workforce. Disability recipients receive a voucher, which could then be used by employment services companies to help in the placement process for those capable of working.
After 15 years since the program began operating, it’s clear that Social Security has failed completely to clear out disability rolls. Concrete measures instead show the exact opposite trend: there are more people collecting Social Security disability benefits than there are people in Sweden.
The vast majority of people who have vouchers refuse to use them, instead preferring to collect benefits without working. A Government Accountability Office report detailed that the number of capable people who make use of the vouchers is less than 1 percent. In 2012, just 31,000 people left the disability roll and rejoined the workforce.
And while the recent recession makes it difficult to empirically assess the impact of Ticket to Work, David Stapleton, researcher at the think Mathematica, argues that the operation of the program — at least over the previous decade — shows zero effect in motivating a return to work.
“In most cases, when they weigh a disability check for the rest of their life, medical benefits and often food stamps, it doesn’t make sense” for capable people to choose to work, Lee Bowes, CEO of America Works, said.
But mostly, according to Stapleton, beneficiaries are uneducated, and so they don’t understand the incentive structure, which creates yet additional motivation not to work and to keep a tight grip on their benefits.
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