With the economy in the tank, there's a new growth industry - disability claims. According to the most recent data, 10.7 Americans are on some form of Social Security Disability. That figure represents a 20 percent increase in the past five years alone.
Now common sense tells you that the number of disabled didn't just jump dramatically during that period. The reality is that disability fraud has proven to be a very lucrative business.
Virtually everyone knows someone on disability. Some of those cases are so patently genuine that everyone supports their assistance from the Social Security fund. But there are countless cases where it's equally obvious the individual is "gaming" the system with phony claims.
Though most of those claims are initially denied, a huge number are then appealed. Over time - usually a two-year period - many of those highly questionable cases are approved. And the checks start flowing for the remainder of their lives.
One estimate put the fraud figure on disability as high as $100 billion. Bur regardless of the amount, it's frustrating for those who work through aches and pains to see others walking to their mailbox for that monthly check - knowing full well that the individual is no more disabled than they are.
I have said countless times that taxpayers are both generous and compassionate. But when you see the "disabled" doing any and all jobs for cash, you become calloused. It makes you want to scream when you see these injustices each and every day.
I don't know why we can't call a fraud a fraud. But instead we now expand the disability definition to include stress disability.
Name one person who has no stress in their life. Just one. Yet some are able to parlay that "stress" into a monthly check.
National reports show that many who are unemployed apply for disability benefits once their unemployment benefits are exhausted. Doesn't that make you wonder about the authenticity of their disability claim?
We have severe economic woes today. That much is certain. But many of those financial concerns are the result of those who seek to benefit from the labor of others.
No one is against those disability claims that are legitimate. But unfortunately, far too many are now spoiling the program for those truly in need.
Maybe each of us should start reporting phony disability claims. Maybe the message will circulate that we who pay taxes are tired of supporting those who cheat the system.