Medicine and technology are changing, and the definition of disability is changing too, said a government watchdog.
The improvement of medicine, treatments and prosthetics means people with certain disabilities now have more physical ability than they would have years ago, said a Government Accountability Office director, Daniel Bertoni, in a statement before the House Subcommittee on Social Security.
The Social Security Administration, which oversees disability payments, has taken steps to redefine and reevaluate certain types of disabilities, but still faces some challenges, he said.
"We found that SSA has taken concrete steps to incorporate modern concepts of disability into its determination criteria, but faces constraints to more fully considering assistive devices and workplace accommodations," Bertoni said.
The agency provides about 14.5 million people with $178 billion in benefits according to a GAO report.
An Inspector General's report found that the Social Security Administration did not reissue $133.7 million in payable uncashed benefit checks to more than 140,000 beneficiaries for reasons including failures to contact beneficiaries or respond to beneficiary letters. The report also said the SSA said it would not reissue the payments, arguing it followed its current policies and the reissue would "divert scarce resources from other priority workloads."