Forbes contributor Teresa Ghilarducci writes that Trump’s funding cuts to the disabled are bad economic policy. She explains that Trump is building on the idea that some people are faking their disabilities, and uses that prejudice to propose spending cuts. She says that this will hurt both people with disabilities and the overall economy.
Ghilarducci says that cutting aid programs that help those with disabilities, research the causes of disabilities, and help those who are disabled be engaged citizens, will not make economic sense. These programs allow the disabled to live in their homes, get jobs, and bolster the wider American community.
In countries like Sweden and Denmark, the disabled are more likely to have jobs because the countries have social-democratic systems which better integrate the disabled. In the U.S. and U.K., though, disabled people are more often unemployed due to a focus on the development of workfare programs.
In the U.S., there is no cultural commitment to making sure disabled workers have the opportunity to work. More, there is no financial incentive to help disabled people find employment, as the government doesn’t coordinate employee needs with employer actions.
Trump’s budget cuts would include reductions in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI allows people who are not yet at retirement age to get disability benefits and Medicare. It is extremely difficult to get on SSDI, and when they do, the benefits are very low, averaging about $1,234 per month.
Senators Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wrote to Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget cut director, to share their concerns about the cuts. They wrote: “You have proposed $84 billion in cuts, chiefly, to Social Security Disability Insurance. These are funds that support hard working Americans who have developed disabilities over the course of their lives. The workers who would be denied benefits under your cuts are people who have not only contributed to our economy over decades but have also paid into the Social Security Disability Insurance fund. Our government promised American workers that if they work, grow our economy and they develop a disability – we will take the funds they have contributed in their taxes to provide some care, relief, and dignity.”
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