Overlapping Disability and Unemployment Benefits
Last month, we growled about 2,362 millionaires in 2009 who also received unemployment compensation (August 14, 2012). In addition, we growled about "mood disorder" being an acceptable disability diagnosis to receive Social Security disability benefits (August 24, 2012).
Now we learn from the General Accountability Office (report highlights here; entire report here) that "117,000 individuals received concurrent cash benefit payments from the Disability Insurance (DI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs of more than $850 million" in fiscal year 2010. GAO said it "is allowable in certain circumstances under current program authority. GAO said "these individuals represented less than 1 percent of the total beneficiaries of both programs," but "the cash benefits they received totaled over $281 million from DI and more than $575 million from UI." GAO also emphasized that: (emphases added)
"One individual GAO selected for further investigation received over $62,000 in overlapping benefits in a year. Based on GAO inquiries, state UI officials are reviewing the person’s UI eligibility because of earnings that may be related to work that makes the person ineligible for UI benefits."
In the report highlights, GAO explained why they undertook the study, saying:
"The DI and UI trust funds face serious fiscal sustainability challenges. In addition to other services, both programs provide cash benefits to their targeted populations to replace lost earnings. DI is available to workers who are unable to engage in SGA because of physical or mental impairments expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. SGA is defined as work activity that involves significant physical or mental activities performed for pay or profit. UI provides temporary cash benefits to eligible workers who are able to work but remain involuntarily unemployed.
"GAO was asked to determine the extent to which individuals received DI and UI benefits concurrently. To do so, GAO matched unemployment files with SSA disability files for fiscal year 2010. GAO also reviewed DI and UI case files for a nongeneralizable selection of 8 individuals – 4 from the top 50 recipients of concurrent DI and UI benefits in fiscal year 2010, and 4 who received UI benefits based on wages from multiple states. These examples cannot be generalized beyond those presented."
Ah, the compassion and generosity of the world's brokest nation. And by bureaucrats earning on average far more than the average private sector employee.