According to the Census Bureau report, analyzing data from the fourth quarter of 2011, 49.2 percent of Americans live in a household where someone receives “food stamps Medicaid or other programs.” There was a slight uptick in households with the elderly receiving Social Security and Medicare, but the largest increases went to the poor.
With the very weak job market, many people misinterpret the data that shows increases to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in the last few years as meaning the unemployed are applying to SSDI after their unemployment benefits are exhausted and using it as an extended unemployment insurance program.
The only cases where that could happen would involve someone who had suffered a physical or mental impairment and been out of work for 12 months or more. And this may happen, for instance, where an individual has worked in a manual labor trade, like health-care aid or landscaper, and injured their back by years of heavy lifting.
Because they do not have training for sedentary work, with their injury, they will be unlikely to find any work. Their injury will leave them disabled and would allow them to obtain SSDI benefits. Of course, they would need to apply for SSDI and have their application approved.
With many office workers out of work, those with less training and experience have little chance of obtaining employment in a less strenuous line of work.