Displaced Concern: The Social Context of the Work-Disability Problem

The Social Security disability insurance program benefits were reduced in the early 1980s, in the belief that income supports induced people to stop working. The action failed to stem the number of program participants from rising, as older men with activity limitations due to chronic disease continued to withdraw from the labor force. Attention paid in this and other instances to work disability derives from the problem’s social context, displacing concerns about work loss itself and its effects on workers’ lives. While slow growth in the economy as a whole may be a root cause of the problem, policies to address the nature and scope of work disability directly remain adrift.

Author(s): Edward Yelin

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Volume 67, Issue S2 (pages 114–165)
Published in 1989