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Raising Social Security Age to 69 Will Put More on Disability

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In an effort to jump start the President’s stalled Social Security privatization plan, Senate Republicans are now proposing to raise the normal retirement age to 69. Those of us who represent the disabled have to watch this carefully. As both academics and those of us in the trenches will tell you, this proposal would ordinarily force more older Americans onto the disability program – thereby not fixing Social Security’s solvency problem. But what if the sly Senate Republicans simultaneously make the standard for obtaining disability benefits so high that no one qualifies? They could have their cake and eat it too.
After representing hard working New Yorkers in demanding physical jobs for the last 15 years, I can tell you that most will not be able to function in their regular jobs until age 69. Sure – advances in medicine have increased life expectancy, but have they increased “work life expectancy” ? I think not, at least for those middle and working class Americans who need Social Security the most. As various proposals wend there way through Congress, keep an eagle eye on the disability benefits program. You may need it one day.

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