Many on Social Security Disability can but don’t want to work

Why are we demonized for speaking the truth?

truthH/t FOTM’s Trail Dust

More than a year ago, in May 2012, Lance Roberts wrote that Without government largesse many individuals would literally be living on the street.” As much as 1/5 or 22.5% of the average American’s income is dependent on “government transfers.” 

One of those “government transfers” are Social Security Disability benefits.

There are two types of Social Security Disability benefits:

  1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Earned disability benefits for those who have held jobs for significant periods of time and paid at least partially into Social Security before becoming disabled.
  2. Social Security Disability (SSI): Unearned disability benefits for individuals who have petitioned to be classified as disabled, although many of them have never worked and have never paid into Social Security.

Under Obama, the number of Americans claiming disability has surged to the highest levels on record since the beginning of the last recession. What is most notable, however, is when the surge of disability claims began – exactly two years from the beginning of the financial crisis. This was when the 2 years of extended unemployment insurance began to run out.

Unlike welfare, disability isn’t term-limited, and in some cases it’s become permanent unemployment insurance for the unemployable or those who simply refuse to work.

Today, more than 28 million Americans who are of working age have a disability – a level higher than at any other time in recorded history. There are approximately 11 million SSDI or earned recipients and approximately 7 million SSI or unearned recipients.

But how many of those on disability are actually disabled?

Luke Rosiak reports for the Washington Examiner, July 30, 2013, that a study by the Social Security Administration found some disturbing, but unsurprising, attributes of disability recipients:

  • Recipients of federal disability checks often admit that they are capable of working but cannot or will not find a job.
  • Returning to work is not a goal for 71% of the SSDI recipients, and 60% of the SSI recipients.
  • Most have never received significant medical treatment and not seen a doctor about their condition in the last year, even though medical problems are the official reason they don’t work.
  •  Those who acknowledge they’re on disability because they can’t find a job say they make little effort to find one.
  • Of those who say they’re actually looking for a job, most say they’re looking only for part-time jobs that will allow them to keep their disability benefits.
  • The unearned disability recipients are in less pain than their counterparts who had paid into the system. In other words, they are using SSD as a substitute for welfare. These individuals are typically overweight, uneducated and from broken homes.
  • There are practical barriers to weaning recipients off the disability rolls. The jobs they’d be candidates for often don’t provide health insurance, which is essential for those with medical problems, and they’d rather receive the SSD benefits. Many also say they don’t have transportation to work.
  •  72% of the small number of SSDI recipients who started a job while on disability got cash under the table, as did 70% of the small number of SSI recipients who started a job while on disability.
  • 24% of the SSDI recipients lack even GEDs, as do 43% of the SSI recipients.
  • Only 18% of SSDI and 15% of SSI recipients said, during the past 4 weeks, they could not do social activities with family or friends because of their physical health or emotional problems.
  • As many as 96% of SSDI and 91% of SSD recipients admit whatever physical health or mental problems they have do not hinder or limit them from the kind or amount of work or other daily activities they do. In other words, they are not really so disabled they can’t work.
  • 47% of SSDI and 41% of SSD recipients are obese; 30% of both groups are overweight; only 21% of SSDI and 25% of SSD recipients are of normal weight.
  • 28% of SSD recipients had never worked for pay, i.e., they never had a job!
  • Most SSD recipients don’t bother to educate themselves about or avail themselves of government programs to wean them off disability, such as the Plan for Achieving Self-Support, Earned Income Exclusion, and Continued Medicaid Eligibility after they get off disability benefits.
  • Many disability recipients also receive other government welfare benefits: 28% of SSDI and 81% of SSD recipients are on Medicaid; 80% of SSDI and 42% of SSD recipients are on Medicare; 18% of SSDI and 52% of SSD recipients are on food stamps.
  • The lack of a spouse is a significant factor: 54% of SSDI and 88% of SSD recipients are not married.
  • 11% of SSDI and 21% of SSD recipients have been receiving disability benefits for 20 years or more.

Source: Public use file round 4

America’s national debt now exceeds our GDP and is closing in on $17 trillion. It doesn’t take an Albert Einstein to know that our super-extended welfare state cannot continue as it is. Indeed the danger signs are already visible.

In three years, by 2016, the first of the Social Security funds — Social Security Disability — will be in full collapse.

Brian Faler reports for The Washington Post, May 30, 2012:

The disability program pays benefits averaging $1,111 a month, with the money coming from the Social Security payroll tax. The program cost $132 billion last year, more than the combined annual budgets of the departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor, Interior and Justice. That doesn’t include an additional $80 billion spent because disability beneficiaries become eligible for Medicare, regardless of their age, after a two-year waiting period. The disability program is projected to exhaust its trust fund in 2016, according to a Social Security trustees report released last month. Once it runs through its reserve, incoming payroll-tax revenue will cover only 79% of benefits, according to the trustees. Because the plan is barred from running a deficit, aid would have to be cut to match revenue.”

Lastly, since the American Medical Association recently declared obesity to be a “disease,” expect even more Americans to apply for and receive Social Security Disability benefits.


82 responses to “Many on Social Security Disability can but don’t want to work

    • Where are the peer reviewed facts backing up this claim? I am on disability due to MS; and yes I contributed to the system (since the age of 14). I struggle with memory loss, cognitive impairment, limited mobility and strength. I waited 3 years for Social Security to find me legally disabled. So, again my question is where are your peer reviewed facts backing up your claim. I too could claim that only selfish individuals were Republican, but I have a moral and ethical obligation to back up such a claim.


      • The post includes a link to the Examiner story and also a link for the data used in the story. Why don’t you provide a review of the story and data? I’m sure we can count on your moral and ethical obligation to provide a superb analysis of the data editor’s information.


  1. When the fraudulent recipients stop getting their checks, guess what happens. Unlike the Americans we remember, a sizable percentage of these people will take to the streets in a Greek style protest.


  2. I remember watching about two years ago, and it may have been Varney, that said thousands were being taken off of unemployment and put under SSD to make their unemployment numbers look better. This is fraud and certainly not fair to those that paid SS for over 40 years like I did.
    Take those people out and stop sending money to dead people and that fund will remain viable longer. Since LBJ, SS has been the go-to fund to balance the books. The government should pay that money back. Period.
    Each day I see America further away in my rear view mirror.


    • we trusted them with our money,huge mistake. Yes they have stolen it. Every last one of them should be held accountable. (some are still on this earth) The entire govt should be thrown out,removed and replaced with “Constitutional Representatives” they will be guaranteed fast,fair,speedy trials by “We The People.”


  3. but not everyone are criminals you must remember that,


    • Where did I say that? It’s those who are illicit recipients of Soc Sec disability who are taking money from the deserving and dooming the entire program to crash and failure.


      • Yes, there is fraud in this program, just like ALL Gov’t programs! There are also huge numbers of ligit disabled. We should be looking into the causes of these diseases, before these numbers get much larger. These types of articles are nothing but a dissinformation campaign to further divide us. Most of the people that have never paid into the SS system were probably born with MD or some other equally terrible disease. Without programs like this, these people would die. Surely you do not want something like that. Also, the question, that was asked, (is going back to work your goal), is very misleading. It’s hard to make going to work your goal when your just trying to stay alive and to function and appear as normal as possible. No one wants to be an outcast or harrassed by hateful people. Anyone with a disabled child or a dibalitating disease themselves understands this. First we should walk a mile in the other guys shoes.

        There is sooooooo much Gov’t waste and theft and soooooooo many things wrong with out Gov’t. Attacking the disabled will be a loose/loose for the GOP. I suggest that they not seriously go there.


        • Why do you attack me and this post, calling this post “disinformation”? Do you know what the word “disinformation” means? It means lies; untruth. Please point to where in the post are the lies.

          Since when has telling the truth become a bad thing? Let me guess: you are on Social Security Disability, earned or unearned. And you are defensive about it. Why? If you are truly disabled and cannot work, why are you defensive? Would you rather that this study, undertaken by none other than the Social Security Administration in 2009 — i.e., by the Obama administration, not the GOP — had never been done, so that we all remain ignorant about what’s going on? Would you rather that we remain ignorant about the fraud in SSD and other welfare programs, all the better for fraud and waste to continue? Or would you rather that we know the Truth, which is a prerequisite to fixing the problems, so that those who are truly so disabled they cannot work, will continue to be supported?

          What you have done here is to attack the messenger. What you are doing to me is called scapegoating. I don’t appreciate your scapegoating me, calling me names, accusing me of disseminating lies. You have some nerve. You are no longer welcome on this blog.


          • Thanks, Dr. Eowyn!!

            When I think of the hoops we had to jump through to have my husband declared disabled by his employer’s disability insurance program, and the ease with which people SSDI, it makes me want to scream.


          • Just pulling an Alinsky, with bad spelling 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks, DCG.

              Alas, I believe many — including supposed Conservatives on our side, like Ms. Bad Spelling and other FOTM readers on disability who are staying silent, hoping that if they just ignore it, the problem will go away — have been corrupted by “the system.” That’s how utterly insidious the Left’s schemes are: they corrupt almost everyone. But you and I — and everyone, in the quiet of their conscience — know this is simply unsustainable. Neither party is addressing this, although we can all see that monstrous train bearing down on us. One way to at least ameliorate some of the SSD problem is to grow the economy, which would then “create” the jobs to get the able-bodied off SSD. But of course, Obama the POS isn’t doing that. Americans forfeited our chance to do that with Mitt Romney. Where and how all this will end, no one knows. But all the stats and facts tell us it won’t be long…. 😦


              • Dear Dr Eowyn . . . what you have written here — “grow the economy” is truly the way out of several of the problems that are nipping at our heels. I just hope that someone will be put in the position to correct that horrible mess before long! Before it becomes to late.

                Liked by 1 person

          • Screw you


        • This is NOT “attacking the disabled.”

          It’s attacking people who claim “diseases” like “chronic lateness syndrome,” and scams like this:


  4. this scheme set up by the govt with all the fraud in it, is just to help the U.S. go bust quicker.


    • Cloward-Pivens strategy being implemented ; over-whelm the system ’til it collapses. Then the jerk-offs come up with another solution to a problem they caused to begin with , with their good intentions .
      And who gets screwed in the end ?


  5. Love those SSI “crazy checks”… just act strange or have your kids do so, cha-ching!


  6. You may or may not remember my/our specific situation, so I’d like to offer a bit more information, specifically in reference to SSI Disability.

    Quick refresher, i am an MBA grad with more than 20 years of experience, unemployed for early two years. We raise chickens for income and rely on food bank donations which are often expired or moldy food to feed our family, our children. We trade work for food with neighbors or anyone who will allow us to.

    Now it should be mentioned that I have torn ligaments in my ankle which cannot be repaired, a damaged knee, 7 herniated discs in varying places on my spine which cause excruciating pain in my extremities. I am diabetic, with severe neuropathy in my extremities as well, and I suffer from severe carpal tunnel in both hands (post surgery the carpal tunnel has returned). Overall, I’m unable to walk, sit, stand or lay for any significant amount of time without severe pain. Yet I do because I must. That’s how I was raised.

    I once thought that applying for SSI Disability would be an appropriate choice as I have many ailments that make it difficult for me to work. DENIED. I appealed the decision and was denied again.

    I wasn’t interested in spending the rest of my life on disability, I simply wished to take the necessary time to fully recover.

    So, when I see the inflated SSI numbers, I’m irritated because so many have decided to live on a gravy train lifestyle. As someone who has been unemployed during this Greater Depression, I understand why people are doing what they’re doing; however, that doesn’t make it right! It’s time for America to wake up & speak up!! In this day and age folks, it isn’t hard to contact your representatives! Look them up, and send an email, call, write a letter!!! Do something! Like i said, WAKE UP AND SPEAK UP!

    Dr. Eowyn, keep speaking the truth!!! More and more of are listening! All the best!


    • DC,

      I just don’t get it — how someone like you and Mother124’s husband, with medically-certifiable serious physical impairments — are given such grief by the SSD bureaucratic goons, whereas. according to the Social Security Administration’s own study, so many others receive SSD benefits when they actually are not really disabled. Something is very very wrong, and we need to talk about it, and communicate our concerns and outrage to our supposed representatives in Congress.


      • I tend to agree Dr. Eowyn.

        In the early 80’s my Father was involved in a very serious accident. He spent more than half a year in the hospital and was never expected to live the first night. When he did survive, he was told he would never walk again. After years of stubborn dedication he proved his doctors wrong. While inspiring, that portion isn’t so much important here.

        This is though, he was thrown from his motorcycle 500 yards when the gas tank exploded. He broke more bones than most people could name, or likely know that the human body has, dozens and dozens of surgery and confined to a wheelchair he to was DENIED SSD benefits the first through third times he applied.

        Through familial connections my Mother contacted a relative who worked for Social Security. That’s when my folks (God bless their souls, may they both rest in peace) discovered from the relative the secret of SSD. Everyone is turned down the first time they apply the relative revealed to them. Subsequent efforts typically receive the same treatment in hopes that people just give up! Sad really.

        So I and so many others like Mother124’s husband will continue to suffer & will continue to deteriorate because WE are FORCED to work when we are truly disabled. I’d like to believe that many of the people who have recently been approved for SSD are in similar situations as myself. Those who truly needed the program, but I’m smarter than that and know the abuses run long and tall.

        I’ve considered returning to school one more time for a Juris Doctorate. Thought perhaps if I did that, maybe I could be a game changer, but who has the money for that when you’re supposed to be the one providing for your family?!

        It’s ironic really, when I was younger I scoffed at my Dad’s many conspiracy theories about the government. I would tell him “the American people will never stand for such things!”

        Boy was I ever wrong! The government knew the American people wouldn’t stand for such things either, so, they began to take over the liberal media and now we’re bombarded with the Jodi Arias’ and George Zimmerman’s of the world in our news broadcasts instead of government corruption.

        I know one thing for sure though, if this guy somehow cons the American people into a third term, I’m packing up the family and moving to the mountains of a third world country! 😉


  7. To qualify for disability is almost as hard as getting a camel through a needles’ eye. So perhaps the increase in the disabled might have something to do with lousy healthcare, unhealthy food, the depression that comes with unployment and homelessness. Also what work is available? Even college grads. are looking for work.
    Worry about Detroit coming to a town near you to grab the pensions etc. Everybody worked hard to have a pension now look whats going on. The safety net is helping people and helping US citizens is better than funding militants in Syria.


  8. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this excellent post. The sin of “sloth” and “laziness” is being perpetrated with the king’s policies. It is sickening, as well, that only half of the Americans in this country pay taxes. This is outrageous!


  9. The people who could work, but do not want to, are a tiny minority compared to the people who can and want to work, but do not get
    a decent payed job anymore. Ask the leaders of the New World Odor
    why it is like that. I do not know. The only explanation I have is to
    demoralize human beings in order to have a faster depopulation,
    according to the so-called Georgia Guidestones. Amen!


  10. Pingback: America’s Retirement Disaster: 50% of 55-64 y.o. have only $12k in retirement savings |

  11. Pingback: Many on Social Security Disability can but don’t want to work |

  12. i recive ssi i had a job but got fired becuase i got frustraited cuz i jad two ppl at the same time one saying i was doing a good job n the other saying i was too slow then said i was too fast then said i was not doing it right i moithed off to him n left i also was horribul in schopl i have a learning disability along with ptsd and eye sight problums and suffer from anxiety disorder and boaderline bi polar i tried working tried finding a job even after i got ssi but relized i aint fit to work nor have a good temper to deal with others and their demands but i do think plenty of ppl do faulse applications just so they can sit on their asses this is why ssi needs to find those who dont really need it and stop giving them the money and i also have depresson the only persons keeping me from killing myself is my wounderful son and my bf and mom but i know one guy who filed saying he cant read but can and he lives in wi and is reciving ssi from cali because he gets more so he didnt report he moved i think ppl who are fausly getting ssi need to be found asap and they shild do more tests on people to prevent fraud and ilget applivations and i also did recive ssi when i was a child until my ma got her job at mirro but for me to get mine they hadme do tons of iq tests mental test and also im over weight but thats no fault of my own its due to my father wich im not getting into but looseingweight wich im happy about but i agree with you and ppl who know ppl who r gettingssi n can work need to report it just like welfare women who are tpo lazy to work or use it for them self and their drug habbits need to be dropped also n their kids taken away


  13. I need to wear a camera on my shirt to go back to work
    that can be seen online and the person watching online
    does their best to offer me a sense of seurity
    here is what the camera looks like

    Other countries have been given this service and I want our country
    to have this also
    By this not being in place it is destroying my life needlessly
    There are millions of people without work and I need this service
    Please find me someone who will watch online
    There is a medic alert button that if i feel like i am in trouble i push the button, but if i fall and cant push the button only the camera on my cellphone will let the person watching know i am in trouble, please find someone who will watch online
    Obviously I want to pay for this service it should be simple to find someone to watch online
    please find me someone


  14. I have a 43 yr. old son who has several disabilities and has tried many times to get his disability and is always turned down! One thing he has is narcolepsy. Who can work when you don’t know when you are going to to fall asleep?
    And it comes with many other problems. They sure haven’t done a thing to help him! Has IBS, degenerative disc disease, cluster headaches, anxiety, depression, agoraphobia.


  15. I am just wondering, if a person with paranoid schizophrenia who worked for 30yrs until his delusions overcame his ability to work, think and cope with the everyday stresses of his life, if this person were getting SSDI would this be acceptable to the readers here. Even if he is somewhat stabilized but does not work since he will never recover and never knows when the delusions and voices will return and what he may do or where he may run off to. Is this guy just fucking LAZY?


    • tony,

      Do you have problems with reading comprehension? What part ofcan but don’t want to work” (which rules out those clinically diagnosed as schizohrenics) of this post’s title do you not understand?

      But maybe your issue isn’t reading comprehension but “paranoid schizophrenia,” which explains why you think “the readers here” are after you. You need to take your meds.


  16. I think that the people who have never worked should not receive checks. There are very few of the ones I see drawing this that are truly disabled. 99% of them are lazy and a big percentage are young people addicted to drugs. And the taxpayers are funding their habit thanks to government officials. I have to pass a drug test to work and if they can’t pass one they shouldn’t get a damn check.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I feel that if everybody on disability did a drug test and could not pass. Then cut them off. Imagine the money that could be used for people that really need disability.


      • I had a disc herniated so bad that it is used now in teaching medical students at UA. After surgery the doc said he did the best he could was just to massive. leaving me in constant pain from nerve impingement my back to the toe. Drop foot. What drugs would you look for? I take oxycodone just to manage. Next you’ll say I have a prescription. It’s a fine line and if you where to see me other than dragging my foot and with a limp you would probably say I’m a addict but my doctor would say it a necessary vise. I would love nothing more than to go back to my six figure life. Try not to hate those who need help from time to time.


        • I am to assume you do not use Heroin, Crack, Meth, LSD, ETC.? I never mentioned prescription medicine. I would be more angry if there was somebody on disability that was not on some kind of medication. However, if somebody is on the streets looking for a high, and illegal. I don’t see nothing wrong with my statement.


          • Until we fix the government we can’t fix their programs. The government takes from fundings to fix other issues or to line there pockets. Then put out media of fraud and misuse get people all worked up. Divide and conquer.


            • I totally will not disagree with that John. The money in this country is no telling where it goes. The sick part is you have states like IL. that one of the most expensive states to live in tax wise, but yet if you win the lottery you get an IOU.


        • I’m a 21 yr-old male who has herniated a disc in my spine and I know exactly all the feelings you probably have dealt with. Not just pain, but the mental frustration and exhaustion associated with trying to appear as normal as possible when you’re truly disabled. Sad truth is, most of these readers/commenters and probably the poster as well, are probably healthy but salty about the fact they pay taxes for those in need. I too would love to pick up my career and earn my own living and pay taxes for those who need help as I do… I still have trouble accepting the fact that I am partially disabled and may be for the rest of my life.


          • Please re-read my post. It’s not about LEGITIMATE disability recipients; it’s about those who are able to work but don’t. One would think it’s in YOUR interest that the fraud be uncovered and punished.


          • No, I’m “salty” about the fact that I pay taxes for those not in need.


            • Apparently there are some people that are not ever going to be convinced of this, and most likely, they are the people collecting disability. AND 12YAN: I have a list of problems with me, I’m 42 and have 2 pinched nerves in my back, I hardly can walk on my right leg, but I was brought up to work for a living. 21 I was a I high powered worker lifting heavy equipment with a bad back. My physical and Intuectual disabilities go beyond that. I have Narcolepsy too, ETC.
              DCG, I agree. I don’t think this country will ever know how to spend money wisely.


  17. people get defensive because if we look normal we have to deal with being accused of milking the system. Not that this has ever happened to me. I guess I don’t really pass as normal no matter how much I want to.


  18. How the fuck do you assholes know? There’s very few things lower or more worthless than tea party douche bags. And give the 1776 patriots back their flag. You tea party assholes have nothing in common with them.


    • “How the fuck do you assholes know?”

      Congratulations, genius Paul Michel of Colorado! You just called the Social Security Administration under Obama “assholes” ’cause the source of this post is precisely the SS Administration. At least we “worthless tea party douche bags” aren’t as stupid as you.
      Paul Michel of Parker, CO, is really stupid

      Liked by 1 person

    • How the fuck do us assholes know? Because we can read and interpret data. Apparently all you know is how to use that Alinsky potty mouth of yours rather than debating facts.

      And the flag is ours, too. ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hey fuckface, i just want to know. I had weight loss surgery which spiraled my preexisting spine conditions to a point where i cannot work, am i to blame for your desire to hate those that are disabled. I cant even sit at a chair for 30 mins for my own needs, amI supposed to sit 8 hrs at a desk? You are an ignorant fuck. I paid into this goddamn system for 15 years and im only 30. My injuries were caused by a distracted driver. I continued to work and pay into this bullshit system for 8 years after my surgeries that ultimately failed. I would trade you places in a heartbeat. Hkw novel it must be to sit on your high horse. My life is ruined in every way. Fuck you. Im on ssdi and i still want to die every day from the pain i suffer, you wouldnt even have clue.


    • D,

      Did your weight loss surgery and spinal condition lead to blindness or a reading comprehension problem? Assuming what you say about yourself is true, this post, which is titled “Many on Social Security can but don’t want to work,” is not about you.

      And did your weight loss surgery and spinal condition also cause you to abuse people with obscenities? You are bitter and full of rage. You clearly need help that SSDI can’t give you. To start, you should get on your knees and thank God that you are still alive and that you live in America where you get SSDI.


      • Fuck you. No one is going to hire someone to work in bed. If you had even a clue how hard it is to get approved for ssdi, you wouldnt write this bullshit. You and your website can suck a dick.

        I hope you find out what its like to get hurt at no fault of your own, lose everything you worked for, then fight for your life to have narrow minded dipshits like you question their ability to work. The amount of ss fraud pales in comparison to the amount of government spending waste on things like fighter jets that cant even fly. You are a doctor? Of what, stupidity?


        • “Fuck you”
          No thanks!

          I urge that you consult a doctor because you clearly are suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome.


        • Perhaps D, you should take up your intense anger about this post with Obama’s Social Security Admin. The Washington Examiner reported on SS’s study and the surprising attributes some recipients exhibit.

          And if you don’t like our website maybe you should just leave. It would probably be best for your blood pressure and maybe help to clean up your vocabulary.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. I was friends with a friend that is milking the system big time. She gets ssi. She claims for cancer, but she hasnt had in years. She claims its for back pain, but has no problem lifting heavy objects daily. She also claims its for anxiety. Shes suppose to be on a med, but was taking one pill and throwing it away daily to make it look like she was taking it. This idiot goes out to bars and stuff and then posts pictures of it and friends on facebook and other people have it on their facebook as well. She can obviously work. She told me the only reason why she even applied was to see if she could get it, otherwise shed still be working. She is also getting food, cash, and medical assistance, which she doesnt need either. I dont think disability knows about this. Guess what? While theres people actually working for their food stamps, she doesnt even have to do a thing for them because she has a kid. She just wants a hand out. She even uses a family members food assistance. She said “if its free, why not?” Crazy right? She should be getting her case reviewed soon, if not now. I know once disability finds out about her, shell lose it all and maybe get penalized for it. Justice will be served people!


  21. Donald Trump will get this all straightened out!


  22. being able bodied does not mean one can work.I have a sleep disorder and severe anxieites..the facts are if you can’t sleep you can’t work.,,Any slight variation in my lifestyle stresses me and I won’t sleep.. when going to bed ,if I have a doctor appointment the next day,or a simple appointment to meet someone to hang out,i will not sleep..i tried for years when I was young to work a steady job but the stress of ‘knowing ‘ I was getting up and going somewhere kept me awake all night,every night..this was going on in school as well in middle school and high school,,knowing I was to be up at 7am kept me awake all night..struggled through high school entirely as well..skipped school constantly to sleep as I couldn’t function.parents thought I was being rebellious all those years..finally began seeing doctors and found I had anxieities and a sleep disorder called delayed sleep phase body wants to stay up nights and sleep days..but I still have the anxieties that prevent me from sleeping if have any obligatory going on..a person can’t look at me and see that i’m disabled..apart from my extreme sleeplessness .I’m normal..i walk a mile per day and am able to move my furniture around and carry heavy items..but no i’m not mowing lawns ..that’s been suggested..that I mow lawns to at least be earning my way somewhat…the suggestion was made due to someone’s jealousy and they felt like I was taking money from people’s pockets as though imy disability isn’t legitimate..on the social security home page ,where disabilities are listed,sleep disorders are one of the conditions that meet legitimacy..also anxieties and depression disorders such as bipolar,etc..someone once told me that a person cannot get disability just because they can’t sleep!! I told them to go online and look in to social security disability and they’ll see that i’m correct..they did so, and were actually angered by it..and they let me point is,you can’t judge someone isn’t disabled by the fact they’re bodily abled..many fact millions are bodily abled but legitimately disabled…you can find complaints online,from people who argue that their neighbor or family member isn’t disabled and getting disability by means of fraud,simply because that person was seen carrying something heavy,or mowing their lawn,etc..bodily abled..but as I said being bodily abled doesn’t necessarily equate to being work force able.


    • Yes. I understand. Please see my post under Zel. Since going on disability I can’t sleep and am racked further by more anxiety and guilt since I am able bodied and now practically home bound. God help us. I will pray for you. Zel


  23. I worked most of my life beginning at 15 yrs old delivering newspapers and then working in a grocery store during HS. I used my savings to help me go to college. Unfortunately I had a nervous breakdown at the end of college. And dropped out. Even though I dropped out I worked in a factory but was fired and then worked in construction. All my peers went on to marry and have professional careers as well as families. While I continued to struggle. But I eventually went back to college and eventually got my degree. I then worked for several years before going to graduate school. I struggled with mental health issues but got my PHD and successfully taught in a medical school for 10 yrs but needed to leave because it became too stressful. I did not work for several years and lived off my savings and then went back to work again for 13 yrs doing an excellent job but was laid off at age 53 because the company had financial problems and decided to try to work on my own doing less stressful work. However my sig other left me and I had another breakdown. After several yrs of therapy and medications I did not improve and was hospitalized all the while living on my savings. I never asked for financial help from anyone. After continually going downhill for several yrs I applied for and got SSDI at 55 yrs old. I feel stigmatized and ashamed of this fact which only made me feel worse about myself. From being a vibrant worker contributing to society I now feel like a loser. I am not obese and am able bodied and that contributes to my shame and guilt. If you think living off of SSDI is easy you are sadly mistaken. I had expected to and wanted to work as long as I was physically able. Instead I have become an ashamed recluse while all my friends are productive members of society. Shame on you for thinking that those of us on SSDI don’t want to work or are just using the system. I would give anything to be working in my chosen profession.


    • “Shame on you for thinking that those of us on SSDI don’t want to work or are just using the system.”

      Does your mental disability also include sight impairment? Re-read the title of this post: “Many on Social Security Disability can but don’t want to work”. My post cites a Soc. Sec. Administration study of SSDI recipients. No where in my post did I criticize or accuse legitimate recipients of SSDI of fraud. Shame on you for demonizing me and this post.


    • Zel, our post didn’t say that all on SSDI don’t want to work. Read the stats above – many do not want to work.

      Mental illness is a real problem for some. I know of one person who struggled with it for many, many years. You stated, “After several yrs of therapy and medications I did not improve…” It’s unfortunate that you couldn’t find doctors and therapists who could address your issues. There are so many medications available, as well as cognitive and holistic therapies, to help people with mental illnesses. And it’s unfortunate you feel ashamed to suffer from a recognized disease.


  24. James MacIsaac

    I worked for years paying into SS, never did I think I would be on SSDI by 50, but here I am, over time I developed a Bipolar disorder that effected my life in a very negative way, The amount of depression and rapid thoughts tourtured me daily. Trying to shut my mind down at night wasn’t easy making my job suffer from lack of energy. I didn’t even know what was wrong with me. I tried suicide twice and had to spend time in the mental ward, then moved to a program to help me deal with life. In this program everyone there we’re on SSD and none of them ever had a job. They got paid to come to these classes once in the room they fell asleep and never participated, but I did every day. With a one on one meeting with my counselor I brought this up, he shrugged it off saying they take strong meds that make them fall asleep, I said well then wake them up, this is what my taxes pay for??????? And now they want to take SSDI away from me, I would love to work but my condition is difficult to deal with on a daily basis.


  25. I’m a single 38 year old male with no dependants. I fell 35′ while at work (Construction) on Oct 8th 2016. I have bi-lateral calcaneal type IV Sanders fractures, I broke 4 metacarpals in my left hand, I have a L4 compression fracture, and I broke my hip. I was knocked out when I hit the ground and was caught up for an unspecified amount of time, I believe I seen Jesus. He mentally let me know that the reason I was seeing him, was because I contemplate him often. I wandered where I was going next then I woke up suddenly at the job site. I was needing an ambulance and spent some time in the trauma ward. Reading through some of these responses inspired me to write. Some are dealt seemingly overwhelming odds and transitions in life at some realllly unexpected times. I applied for disability insurance and was denied. I want to work and believe strongly that I can do something and need to do something. I am new at spending most of my mobility time between chair, Kane, and crutches. I was very active before my accident. I am genuinely at a loss trying to juggle up-coming surgeries, needing a place to live, do to obvious financial changes in my life, and with several surgeries to go I’m not sure where to start. Who will not only hire me, but who will put up with my bad days. What can I do to make enough money to pay for all my needs monthly. I now understand how sensitive people can be when they have mobility issues. I believe everyone deserves a miracle and when we can measure what the worth is of those miracles then there not really miracles. life is full of storms, but keep your eye on the truth and everything will be added unto you. Jesus is Lord.


  26. The SSA denies over 50% of all applicants who apply for disability, the SSI program in 2017 sends out $735.00 a month(the max one can get with SSI), which is inadequate and certainly not generous, I don’t know what a person gets with SSDI currently, though $1,111 is not a lot, nor generous, if one is below 65yrs old, one has to be disabled and unable to work, a person might be able to walk and stand for a bit, but not as far as an able bodied person. My brother got $1,000 a month on SSDI, plus He got about $1,000 from His Navy Retirement Pension, from 1998 until 2004 He helped support Me, no questions asked, in early 2005 He died from Lung Cancer and Emphysema, the Cancer had spread to His brain, the 1st signs He had something serious beyond the Emphysema was in late 2003 when He fell twice, We think He was hiding the cancer how? By saying He was going in for colon screening, the only thing is where He went to, was where mom went for chemo a few years back, so yeah I knew, and He made Me swear not to tell anyone that He was going there, I’d already lost mom, I was now faced w/losing a brother, so I kept quiet, at least until the cat was out of the bag. Mom had cancer from smoking, My brother? Asbestos and/or smoking most likely, He served in the US Navy for 20 years, mostly on board a ship, below deck, where asbestos lined steam pipes were located at. Otherwise there has been no history of cancer or even Alzheimers in My family, My grandpa lived until He was 82, died as healthy as a horse, My cousin is 83, poor but healthy, His wife though has Alzheimers. My aunt was 88yrs old when She passed away, and Me? Like My brother don’t look our age, He barely had any grey hair at 61, and only on His sideburns, elsewhere it was thick and strawberry blond, and the hairline had not retreated by even 1mm, same for Me, and I’m only 57 now. I can’t say much about My mom and My sisters, women do or did dye their hair, so I don’t know, and their all deceased, so asking is out.

    I take 4-6 8hr Tylenol OA pills a day, just so that I am in no pain, when I stand, when I get up, and when I walk up to about 60′ w/a cane, I and every person who gets SSDI and/or SSI are not able bodied.

    I have injuries from a broken leg in 2002, from surgery in 2002, 3 dislocated joints, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, stiff back, cysts in My kidneys(1 ea), weight, concentration problems, damaged and stiff ankles, stomach is partly above My diaphragm which means I have trouble breathing as well as other people(I kept falling behind on a hike at about 7,000′ elevation in the BSA one summer, so I had to be escorted down to a lower elevation, since I could not catch My breath, this is considered a birth defect, My parents were 38(mom) and 42(dad) when I was born), severe anxiety, eyesight problems, all have been verified by an MRI(I now have 3 titanium screws in My leg, so more MRI’s are out), x-rays, a cat scan, and by a doctor of psychiatry.

    I’m 6’1″ tall, 57, White(French/Irish/English) descent, ambidextrous(baseball, archery, riflery(I was a sharpshooter at one time), grenades, or etc, etc, etc…). I recently had prostate surgery to remove a blockage recently that was blocking to a painful extent the flow of urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Most people who get SSDI and/or SSI are White, and not rich. I’ve been getting SSI since 2003, I have not worked since 1992. I didn’t get disabled on purpose, that would be crazy, one day it just happened, I slipped and fell, since then I’ve been disabled, I do have a GED, and 2 nearly worthless certificates in computers and in basic programming, I do understand computers, but program? Nope, I don’t know where to start, and Basic programming is obsolete today.

    If you think that getting rid of the SSI program will lower your taxes, it’s a $46 Bn a year program that is for Seniors, the Blind, and for Disabled People, the money would just be spent elsewhere in the Federal budget, on Tax Cuts for the rich and on corporations, both are at least 20% of the US, and neither pays much if anything in taxes, GE pays $0.00 in taxes, you would not see a penny less in taxes… Corporations used to be 33% of all Federal Taxes, now almost 9%, lots of subsidies, and tax cuts, all by Congress, and for various reasons, trickle down economics was invented by an Alzheimers patient, who just happened to be POTUS, and trickle down does nothing to help poor people, working or not, it just fattens rich and corporate wallets.

    If you get disabled, what are going to do? Suck on a rifle barrel, and pull the trigger, rather than get a meager check? Not everyone has family, for a bit I was lucky, then My luck started to run out, I still have some family, but none that is close enough to live with, all the close relatives I had are all dead now. Dorothy(My other sis), when I was a kid I think, dad in ’93, mom in ’98, sis in ’99, brother in ’05.

    Suicide shouldn’t happen, but sometimes it does happen, pain can do that, or loneliness for that matter.

    I’m not lazy, there are things I’d like to get done, but finding the energy to do so does not come easy, time to stand unsupported may be 1 or 2 minutes, and then the back starts hurting, and I start sweating. What I do know is I’ve had to find a way to make some tasks easier to do, some are not easy no matter what, Doc thinks I have sleep apnea, maybe I do, or maybe I don’t, but then I don’t know.

    And I live alone w/a cat, in a 30yr old manufactured home that I own, in a mobile home park, plus I own a 18yr old car, both are fixers, since I don’t get enough to always do repairs, recently I had to replace the car battery, and get the car smogged and pay the DMV, I had to get some extra money to cover everything, and yes I’m in debt, yes the car is needed, as is the home, the car for shopping for food, for a visit to the Doctor, and so I can visit My relatives, who now live 100 miles away from Me. I could use an extra $200-300 a month, but so far, that isn’t happening.

    Being disabled cuts across party lines too, some of My friends are Republicans, Me I’ve been a Democrat, an Independent, and a Republican, I can be what I want, My dad was a Republican(born in Idaho, raised in California), mom a Democrat from Texas. But then I look out for My own and others interests, and yes I vote, just as My parents did, Democracy is meant to be something to take part in, not to sit by and chew cud like a cow, and go MOO…

    Broken homes is garbage, why? Cause the SSDI and SSI programs don’t give a crap about that, I get SSI so I do know, bodies like machines, do break.

    I live by the golden rule, do unto others, as you would have done unto to you.


    • Is your disability one of vision or cognition?

      I ask because your long, self-pitying comment has NOTHING to do with what this post is about, which is on those receiving SSDI who are ABLE to work, but REFUSE to work.

      As for your “I and every person who gets SSDI and/or SSI are not able bodied,” that is simply NOT TRUE, as testified by the responses to the SS Administration’s survey, admitting that are able bodied. That leads me to wonder if you had bothered to actually read this post.

      One would think that it is in the interest of you and other SSDI recipients who are disabled to be outraged by SSDI recipients who can but refuse to work. Shame on you for choosing to look the other way.


  27. Oh and employers don’t want to hire someone who has not worked in years, they’d rather hire someone who has a job, or who recently had a job, so for many going and getting a job, is easier said, than done.


    • Then, it is all the more imperative that those on Social Security Disability who are able to work should do so ASAP.


      • The only problem is there is no such animal, not all disabilities are visible to the naked eye, can you see in the Xray spectrum like an X-ray machine or a CT-scan can?

        Anyone who gets SSDI and/or SSDI is severely disabled, sure I can walk maybe 20′ to 120′, but that doesn’t mean I’m pain free, I take 4-6 8hr Tylenol caplets @ 650mg each, the SSA denies just over 51% of applicants who apply for SSDI/SSI for lack of actual Medical Evidence, like said X-rays or CT scans or even an MRI(if one has no metal in ones body, I had an MRI once before I broke My leg in 2002, the MRI loosened My fillings in 3 molars that I used to have), from a Hospital, that is not something fakeable, not for Meager benefits of $735.00-$1200.00 a month, Me I have 3 titanium screws in My lower left leg, and scars on both sides of My left ankle, the ankles are ruined cause of surgery, the knees are ruined cause of the fall, which also meant both hips became dislocated, the right more audible than the left, can you say thunk? I also have OA, and My right shoulder joint was dislocated in a fall in 1978, I’ve had OA since at least 2000, none is visible to the Naked Eye, yours, Mine of anyone elses.

        Yeah I live on SSI, I don’t have a choice, neither do My friends down the road, bodies like machines, do break. How do I live on SSI alone?

        I own and occupy a manufactured home and a car, plus I have a cat for company, all legal under the circa 1972 rules that SSI imposes, the only thing about SSI that was every changed was the Savings limit in 1989, that was increased from $1500 to $2000, not like I can save any money.

        Oh and I bet you object to Me getting a check, thinking if SSI is done away with My taxes will be cut, nope they won’t be cut, you aren’t rich, not even close, but if some 11 Republicans in the House Freedumb Caucus gets their way, you’ll lose what you get, like EITC, Heap, SNAP, Medicaid, ACA/Obamacare, etc, etc, etc…

        That would be H.R.1469 – Welfare Benefit Reform and Alignment Commission (BRAC) Act

        This bill proves the GOP wants your votes, and your throat cut if you can’t swim on your own.

        You are thinking all these lazy people need to “get a job”, well they can’t, the medical requirements are the strictest in the world, bar none, the GOP/Republican Party just does not like spending money on people who ain’t rich.

        SSDI also has recent work requirements, if one is Medically qualified, and has worked in the last 10years, one gets the Insurance benefits, if one has not, one does not, SSI has no work requirements, the benefits for SSDI and/or SSI are not generous, if someone says they are, they are a LIAR, and do not know what they talk about, and may be Bigots.

        No person likes being disabled, but then you aren’t, and have no idea what it is like being cooped up in a house, almost 24/7…

        If you became disabled, would you apply or would you, blow your brains out?

        The GOP/Republican Party expects you’ll use your 2nd amendment rights by sucking on a barrel, and pulling the trigger. Me I’d hope you’d apply, suicide hurts the people who are left behind, and yes I do know of that too.

        And I’m deadly serious, I do not make jokes on someones life, I may be registered as a Democrat, and My friends as Republicans, My dad was a Republican, and mom a Democrat, most Democrats today are ex-Republicans and/or ex-Independents. I am My dads son, He was forthright, but then He was in the Newspaper business, and a Medic in WWII Europe, He’s a hero, He saved lives.


  28. can I get disability? Look at everything I have; a) aortic dissection b) use a cpap machine for sleep apnes c) use a pacemaker now. By default I am on life support already (picture a hospital patient on a ventilator and defibrillator at the same time).


  29. Andrew Frederick Wilks

    Fuck you to whoever wrote and published this article against people on SSDI!! I am on SSDI myself for Autism and LD issues!! Though this article was written 5 years ago in 2013, articles such as this promote bigotry and hatred against those on SSDI!! Articles like this should be removed from all websites, newspapers, magazines, etc…Whoever wrote and published this can DROP DEAD AND ROT IN HELL!!! This is one of these so called Christian sites that promotes hate! In this case the hate is against people on SSDI!!! FUCK YOU ALL AND FUCK ANYONE ELSE IN THIS SHITHOLE COUNTRY THAT STIGMATIZES PEOPLE ON SSDI!!!!!


    • @Andrew Frederick Wilks:

      To begin, if you had actually read this post, you would know that it isn’t about you, assuming you are being truthful. This post is a straight-forward report of the results of a survey conducted by the Social Security Administration, in which ABLE-BODIED people who fraudulently receive SSDI admitted they are able to work but choose not to.

      Your comment “Whoever wrote and published this can DROP DEAD AND ROT IN HELL!!!” is a death threat.

      It is a federal crime, USC 18.41 Sec. 875(c), punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, to transmit any communication containing a threat to injure the person of another, via the Internet and e-mail (as well as the telephone, beepers, and other means of communication).

      Your name, age, address, and IP addresses have been turned over to law enforcement:

      Liked by 1 person

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