When a worker suffers a disabling illness or injury, they often wind up applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to help pay their rent and buy their groceries. The SSDI program pays benefits to those with severe physical and mental conditions that leave them out of work for at least a year and make returning to work unlikely, if not impossible.
However, some recipients of SSDI may experience an improvement in their health, and new research suggests that it may be the SSDI program that helps them to recover and eventually return to the workforce.
The research looked at a large number of SSDI beneficiaries who lost their benefits when Congress changed the eligibly requirements. The study found that some of those who quickly received their benefits, had a greater likelihood of being able to return to work and earn more than they would have been about to earn under the SSDI program’s income limits.
There has been much discussion on how to limit the size of the SSDI program. Helping disabled workers return to work would assist with that goal, but the report suggests there are limits.
It found that workers with drug or substance abuse problems had a better chance of returning to work than those with chronic health conditions. Individuals with heart disease did not see an improvement in their rate of returning to work, which is unsurprising.
Chronic diseases, like heart, lung or liver ailments often do not improve, even with access to health care, and disabled workers suffering from these conditions are unlikely to see their health improve sufficiently to allow them to return to work