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Another Way to Deal with Disabled Workers

Face it. The underlying policies of the Social Security Administration (SSA) are clearly lacking. There are no provisions for person to be only partially disabled or to assist employers in retaining disabled persons working in lesser roles. These deficiencies result in 90% of persons found disabled not returning to work. The failure to promote employment for disabled persons is a glaring and costly factor which needs to be addressed.

So, maybe its time to look at other systems for guidance, in particular the one used in Spain. The Spanish system finds people disabled in either of two ways by (1) receiving a disability support benefit and/or (2) hold a certificate of disability. Both types of benefits are designated as contributory (paying into the system) and non-contributory (not paying sufficiently into the system resulting in means testing of benefits).

Both disability designations provide tax and financial advantages to these beneficiaries. Only the disability support benefit entails receiving a monthly allowance. But, the individual receiving benefits is required to undertake a different job to that of his/her previous one. A person receiving a disability certificate only has received an acknowledgment of the disability.

This system results in a difference of probability of working between those disabled persons receiving benefits as opposed to those who do not of only 5%. The highest probability of working occurred in middle aged persons with younger persons experiencing more difficulties finding a job. In addition, persons with higher education are the least group to receive disability. This is attributed to better educated people placing a higher valuation on their better paying jobs and have less need to receive a lower monetary benefit. After disability ratings reach 45%, the probability of those working with and without being paid benefits disappears. Therefore, higher payments do not discourage a return to work at this point. Persons with mild disabilities tend to work more than persons with greater disabilities. It is at this point that the Spanish system is still seeking policy changes to reintegrate disabled persons into the workforce better.

Although not a perfect system, it is an example by which SSA may look to for guidance in trying to create a better disability system which allows persons to work while not sacrificing their benefits completely.

Posted in General Disability Issues, Long Term Disability, Private Disability Benefits, Social Security Disability Benefits | Tagged , , , , , , , |


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