Is 2018 "Armageddon" for North Carolina Social Security Disability?

October 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

As if North Carolinians did not have enough problems on their minds with the specter of a second “great recession” on the near horizon, recent figures suggest that the social security disability insurance program (which serves North Carolina and the other states) is running out of money…and fast.

According to a recent article in the McClatchy Newspaper, Disability Benefits Program On Unsustainable Financial Path: “at the current growth rate, the SSDI trust fund, which pays for benefits, won’t have enough money to meet its obligations in 2018.”

Observers point to an array of statistics to show the program’s dire straits. For instance, back in 1990, only 3 million recipients took money from the program. In September 2011, by contrast, 8.7 million injured workers collected more than $1,000 a month from the program. Critics of SSD also point to facts such as this one: “among new [beneficiaries] in 2010, more than half cited back pain or mental problems, like depression or mood disorders, as the disabling injury, compared with just 26% of such claims in 1965.”

Critics will admit that other problems may be draining the system and causing SSDI to “burn money” faster and faster – problems like the graying of the baby-boomer generation and an anemic economy. One key underlying message of the critics, however, is that hurt and injured people themselves are to blame for their medical straits.

Critics suggest that Americans are not planning effectively. They are becoming more and more dependent on the system to provide sustenance and protection. This story is so vivid and so widely accepted among many North Carolina social security disability critics that it is difficult to begin to talk about the fundamental problems from the context of a different paradigm.

But a different paradigm may be in fact just what we need.

In fact, in recent best selling books like Protein Power, Wheat Belly, and Why We Get Fat, journalists and doctors have powerfully argued that changes to our national dietary habits may have indirectly caused incredible stresses on our benefits programs, including SSD. Americans started to consume an unhealthy diet full of processed refined carbohydrates and wheat products and sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup. As a result of these unhealthy eating habits – pushed in part by an institutional edifice that feared fat more than sugar – Americans are now suffering crippling rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases. And these diseases – indirectly caused by bad nutritional advice – are at the root of at least some of the current benefits program problems.

Of course, there is always a possibility that these nutritional critics are wrong. But if they are correct, or at least partially correct, then the logic of their findings suggests that the problem does not necessarily lie with a weak willed or over-entitled populous but rather with a misled populous.

Interesting food for thought, at least.

For help with the specific case, connect with a North Carolina social security disability law firm.

More Web Resources:

Wheat Belly

The impact of sugar on our healthcare crisis