NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

117,000 Americans Get Jobless and Disability Benefits

September 18, 2012

As jobs become scarce, many people are increasingly reliant on unemployment benefits to stay afloat during tough economic times. But many Americans have taken advantage of the system to "double-dip," receiving unemployment and Social Security disability checks at the same time, says the Fiscal Times. 

  • About 117,000 Americans cashed in unemployment and Social Security disability checks in fiscal year 2010.
  • In the same year, the average "double-dipper" received $7,316 dollars.
  • Roughly 1,500 people got as much as $40,000 a year.
  • Unemployment benefits cost taxpayers $128 billion a year.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance is expected to become insolvent in four years.

To be considered disabled, a person must have a condition that prevents him or her from doing substantial gainful activity or work that generates more than $12,000 in income. No law currently prevents a person from receiving both a disability and unemployment check. Additionally, there is nothing in place that would reduce the amount of money a person gets if they are claiming to be unemployed and disabled.

Lawmakers are calling for a crackdown on people receiving both benefits. However, the Social Security Administration has stated that it is difficult to determine whether people who received unemployment benefits are also disabled. Furthermore, they stress that the process can be lengthy and may be costly to enforce.

The assistant labor secretary has also noted that there is a lack of budget and manpower to identify the possible savings from preventing double-dipping.

Source: Josh Boak, "117,000 Americans Get Jobless and Disability Benefits," Fiscal Times, September 12, 2012.


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