Compensation for Disability

November 22, 1949

Report Outline
Rising Controversy Over Disability Benefits
Protections Against Wage Loss from Disability
Issues in Permanent Disability Insurance
Disability in the Overall Security Program

Rising Controversy Over Disability Benefits

Alignment of Forces on Disability Insurance

Cash Payments to compensate for wage losses due to permanent and total disability would be added to the social security system by the bill to amend the Social Security Act which passed the House shortly before Congress adjourned in October. The proposed entry of the federal government into the field of disability insurance received little attention during the two days the omnibus bill was before the House; debate centered principally upon the administration proposals to expand coverage and increase benefits of the old-age retirement system. The disability provisions of the bill will be more closely scrutinized in the Senate, for they have since come under attack as a long step in the direction of socialized medicine.

At hearings before the Senate Finance Committee in January testimony against federal disability insurance will be offered by representatives of insurance companies, medical societies, and business groups. Life insurance companies cite their own experience with insurance against permanent disability as evidence that a federal system would be costly and difficult to administer. The board of trustees of the American Medical Association recommended in November that doctors fight the new social security bill so long as it authorizes disability insurance. The United States Chamber of Commerce holds that federal disability benefits would start a chain reaction, not ending “until we had compulsory health insurance and were headed toward general economic socialization.”

Federal disability insurance is strongly supported by the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Disability benefits have already been won by unions in coal, steel, aluminum and automobiles under the employee welfare plans now rapidly spreading throughout large-scale American industry. Representatives of the A.F.L. and C.I.O. will urge at the January hearings that protection against the hardships of disability be extended to employees of small as well as large concerns by making disability benefits available to all workers covered by the federal old-age insurance system.

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Feb. 17, 1954  Government Aid for Health Plans
Nov. 22, 1949  Compensation for Disability
Aug. 30, 1946  Public Medical Care
Jan. 25, 1944  Medical Insurance
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