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Enrollment in the Social Security Disability Insurance program has risen significantly since the late 1980s; consequently, program expenditures have far outpaced revenues and the SSDI trust fund is projected to hit zero in 2016. Moreover, the SSDI program, as currently administered, discourages applicants and recipients of benefits from seeking and returning to work, thereby reducing federal tax revenues at a time when deficit reduction is critical. The SSDI program can and must be reformed. Reconsidering the medical eligibility criteria for benefits, promoting earlier medical interventions, allowing for SSA representation at appeal hearings on benefit decisions, enacting time limits for some benefit awards, and increasing the frequency of continuing disability reviews can help make the program more efficient, encourage individuals to return to work, and enhance economic growth.
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Social Security, SSDI, tax, Social Security Disability Insurance
Duggan, Mark, "The Urgency of Reforming Entitlement Programs: The Case of Social Security Disability Insurance" (2013). Wharton Public Policy Initiative Issue Briefs. 18.