A "Work First" Fix for a Failing Disability System

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Disability policy in the United States is failing the disabled. Social Security’s disability trust fund is projected to be insolvent in 2018, and the costs of our disability programs are rising at an unsustainable rate, yet the disabled are working less than ever before. Richard Burkhauser of Cornell, author of The Declining Work and Welfare of People with Disabilities (with Mary Daly, AEI Press, September 2011), offers a "work first" approach that has the potential to shrink caseloads, curb costs, and improve the economic outlook for people with disabilities. It builds on lessons learned from the mid-1990s welfare reform effort and the recent reform of Dutch disability policy. Encouraging work enables individuals to reap the benefits of a growing economy and lead happier, more productive lives. Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution and David Wittenburg of the Mathematica Policy Institute will respond.
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About the Author

 

Andrew G.
Biggs
  • Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.

    Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public vs. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future.

    Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

  • Phone: 202-862-5841
    Email: andrew.biggs@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Kelly Funderburk
    Phone: 202-862-5920
    Email: kelly.funderburk@aei.org

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