New York State is among the easiest places in the country to qualify for the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

From the Journal:

The SSDI is set to soon become the first big federal benefit program to run out of cash—and one of the main reasons is U.S. states and territories have a large say in who qualifies for the federally funded program. Without changes, the Social Security retirement fund can survive intact through about 2040 and Medicare through 2029. The disability fund, however, will run dry in four to seven years without federal intervention, government auditors say.

In fiscal 2010, 52.9 percent of applications for SSDI coverage were approved in New York.  Only a dozen other jurisdictions, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, signed off a larger percentage of SSDI applications.  Guam, at 64.8 percent, and Puerto Rico, at 63.4 percent, topped the SSDI rate-of-approval rankings.

Despite the high approval ranking, New York’s share of the total national SSDI population was roughly proportional to its share of total population, and the percentage of New Yorkers receiving disability payments (4.2 percent) was slightly below the national average (4.3 percent).

The impending insolvency of SSDI can be written off as a federal problem — which, of course, makes it everyone’s problem.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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