Social Security isn't just a retirement program, it's also a disability and welfare program. Disability Insurance writes checks to people between 50 and 64 who have "any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or to be of long-continued and indefinite duration."

And as Slate's James Ledbetter writes, the program is becoming a boondoggle:

Over the last few decades, a program that was designed to help a relatively small group of people who were fatally sick or permanently unable to work has evolved into a backdoor welfare program in which a huge number of people are paid not to get jobs. How huge? Nationwide, we're talking about well over 4 percent of the adult population. In some states--Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, and West Virginia--the rate exceeds 6 percent. These millions of workers extricated from payrolls represent untold lost billions in tax revenues and all manner of desperately needed economic activity (consumption, home purchases, etc.).

Read the full story at Slate.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.