Incentives Proposed To Keep Disabled Workers on Payroll

Employees and employers would share the cost of a modest private disability insurance package, between $150 and $250 a year, in order to keep disabled employees on the payroll and off the Social Security disability benefits rolls, a new report recommends.

The report by the Brookings Institute’s Hamilton Project and the Center for American Progress, to be released on Dec. 3, urges adding a “front end” of benefits to keep the disabled in their jobs and slow down the rapidly growing expense of the federal disability program, also known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Before workers could receive SSDI benefits, they would have to be approved for benefits from the private policy — benefits that would go toward rehabilitation services, partial income support and other related services.

After receiving private payments for two years, employees would be eligible to apply for SSDI benefits if they believe their disabilities are too severe for them to remain in the workplace, the records says.

“Currently, about 8.1 million former workers receive SSDI benefits, and the number of new applicants has risen sharply with the nation’s continuing economic problems,” the Washington Post reported.

Researchers are hoping that reforming SSDI will became part of the discussion about the need to rein in entitlement costs, the Post added.  SSDI reform often escapes the scrutiny of policymakers, the report noted.

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