That is the number of working Americans compared to those collecting SSDI according to latest data released by the Social Security Administration. Author Terrence P. Jeffrey puts that number into perspective by pointing out that the number of people taking SSDIB exceeds the population of 39 states. See full article here.
While SSDI is supported by payroll taxes of working Americans, the Trust Fund has been running deficits for the past three years. In 2009, the number was $8.5 billion. By 2011, the deficit grew to $25.3 billion.
From my vantage point, the increase in SSDIB payments have as much to do with the weak job market and workers not wanting to return to the labor force as it does with actual disability. With a Federal system that favors awarding benefits (eventually) over establishing a higher threshold for true disability, the trend is sure to continue.
It seems like the American dream of owning a house, sending the kids to college and enjoying a secure retirement is rapidly being replaced with the dream of collecting monthly disability income from Social Security and enjoying low cost medical insurance from Medicare for life. And if you are reading this post, chances are you are the one underwriting the new American dream.