Scarcity of Jobs Adds to Disability Rolls

July 13, 2012

Since the recovery began in July 2009, the Social Security disability program (SSDI) has awarded benefits to 3.1 million more people while the number of payroll jobs has increased by just 2.6 million, which only exacerbates the problems employers would have in trying to comply with new disability affirmative action requirements proposed by OFCCP.  According to Mark Wilson, principal of Applied Economic Strategies, this trend has continued as the pace of hiring has slowed over the past three months.  During that period, more workers have been added to the disability rolls than have gotten jobs (an average 82,000 per month vs. 75,000 per month).  Moreover, during the past 20 years, the number of American workers receiving SSDI benefits has more than doubled, from 3.2 million in 1991 to 8.6 million in 2011.  Today, 25 percent of the people who are not in the labor force report they have a disability and just 3.1 percent of those report they want to work.  Numerous studies have shown that SSDI strongly discourages people from returning to work if they are awarded benefits, yet OFCCP has proposed requiring federal contractors to have a "goal" of seven percent of employees within each job group as having a disability.