Modernizing the SSDI Eligibility Criteria: A Reform Proposal That Eliminates the Outdated Medical-Vocational Grid

The Social Security Administration has been awarding benefits through its Disability Insurance (SSDI) program at an increasing rate, but meanwhile the actual rate of disability in the US population working age and older has remained stable or even decreased. The SSDI Trust Fund will run out of money by 2016. While some propose transferring payroll taxes from Social Security’s retirement fund to its disability fund, it would be much better to address the underlying problems by reforming the SSDI system. Due to its impending insolvency, SSDI must be reformed, and this reform should include the elimination of the medical-vocational grid. The disability insurance program is going bankrupt because it is too easy for certain applicants to qualify for benefits: those who are over age 50, don’t speak English, or have less than a high school education. The current guidelines are designed for conditions that existed decades ago, not for the economy and workers of today.

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