Magazine article Risk Management

Notes

Magazine article Risk Management

Notes

Article excerpt

Last March, three researchers-Chinhui Juhn of the University of Houston and Kevin Murphy and Robert Topel of the University of Chicago-released a paper entitled Current Unemployment, Historically Contemplated. Their analysis found that many individuals have left the workforce largely due to two factors: (1) low wages offered to less skilled workers in today's labor market; and (2) a growth in the attractiveness of alternatives to work, in particular, disability.

"While we have no direct measure of the attractiveness of disability payments," the authors write, "the continued increase in individuals stating disability as their primary reason for not working, and the work of other [researchers] ... suggest that disability is an important part of the story."

When the Social Security Administration expanded its qualifications for disability insurance in the 1980s, its enrollment increased along with its costs. With today's job market, those numbers have soared. This year, the administration expects a $9 billion increase, bringing total disability insurance costs to $69 billion.

As Morley White, an administrative law judge in Cleveland told The New York Times, "When you are a person who has lost a job, and you can't find another and you are home sitting on the couch, you become preoccupied with ailments that do qualify in many cases as legal disability but while you were working did not come to your mind."

This economic climate necessitates heightened attention to worker well-being-with programs like safety, return-to-work and integrated disability management. …

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