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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Instead of returning to the workforce, many long-term jobless turning to Social Security Disability

Disabled man on an electric scooter.Image via Wikipedia
Unable to return to work,
many long-term jobless are turning
to Social Security disability
programs for income.
According to a article by CBS News, U.S long-term unemployment -which counts as being jobless more than six months- is now higher than in the Great Depression of the 1920's era. To date, 6.2 million Americans or 45.1 percent of all former workers in the U.S. have been without work for more than six months and, in many cases over two years.

With nearly a third of the unemployed out of work for over a year, returning back into the work market is difficult, at best. People out of a job for an extended length of time tend to lose skills, experience long-term effects on their lifetime earning power and employers generally question if they would want to re-hire them. 
"(Employers) think: 'Oh, well, there must be something really wrong with them because they haven't gotten a job in 6 months, a year, 2 years.' But that's not necessarily the case," said Marjorie Gardner-Cruse with the Hollywood Worksource Center to CBS News.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Friday, June 3rd, cited a jump in the U.S. unemployment rate from to 9.1% in May 2011 from 9% in April. Meanwhile, labor underutilization known as "U-6" data, which counts people who stopped seeking work or cannot find full time employment, dropped to 15.8% from 15.9%. 

Combined impact of the figures define while new unemployment claims are increasing, many individuals including up to 3 million 99ers (jobless former workers exhausted from all forms of federal unemployment insurance extensions), have 'given up' on finding work.

So where are some of the longest-term unemployed 99ers ending up to find income assistance? Governmental programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) managed though the Social Security department. New claims for SSI program increase of 1.2 million people or 17% since 2007, according to CNN News

Employment retraining programs, along with an extension of unemployment insurance, could have assisted many longest-term jobless, from turning to a income assistance program of 'last-resort' like SSI. 

Two Federal legislative bills to extend unemployment insurance payments to exhausted 99ers, HR-589 of 2011 sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bobby Scott (D-VA) and S-3706 of 2010 sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI),  stalled in Congressional committees before ever reaching chamber floors for a up or down vote. 

The jump in Social Security disability claims don't coordinate to people filing fraudulent claims, according to CNN. Former workers without medical or dental insurance for up to two years, can lead easily delays basic health care needs, hereby compounding medical issues. Individual who can no longer find employment but, are living with a disability or health problem, are turning to the government for help.

Contrasting unemployment insurance claimants, individuals who receive disability benefits are unlikely to never return to the work force. Any ability to work on a full-time basis, would put an immediate stop to any SSI benefits received. With such, they are unlikely to risk losing the income payments by returning to work. 

As for the income received while on SSI, the average disability check is just $1,000 per month. In addition, those approved for the program automatically receive federally based Medicare health care benefits, regardless of their age.

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