From across the pond comes an alarming report about able-bodied people on disability benefits. At a time when disability claims are outpacing job creation in the U.S., the story has immense relevance for us.

The U.K Express reports:

Three quarters of people given an official health test for new incapacity benefits can work, figures revealed yesterday.

Some 55 per cent of claimants were no longer eligible for the hand-outs following the testing – and a further 20 per cent could carry out some form of paid job with the right support.

Just 25 per cent were found unable to do any kind of work.

The latest figures also show a rise in the proportion of initial decisions upheld following appeal – from 66 per cent in December 2010 to February 2011 to 69 per cent in March to May 2011.

The findings by the Department for Work and Pensions will intensify anger at Britain’s spiraling welfare bill and fuel fears that more than one million sickness benefit claimants are scroungers.

Scroungers? How about fraudsters?

It appears that something similar may be happening in the U.S., unless you really believe the number of people who became disabled last month surpasses the number (80, 000) of jobs created.  The Manhattan Institute’s prescient Heather Mac Donald warned about this in a 1995 article about disability entitled “Welfare’s Next Vietnam.” It was about people who were able to work but who nevertheless obtained disability benefits. More than a decade later, the article remains relevant.

Mac Donald wrote another sobering piece for the Wall Street Journal late last year revealing that the “disability business is booming” and recounting the work of Charles Binder, the man with the hat, whose ads you’ve probably seen on TV. Binder has a law firm that specializes in getting people on disability. You may recall his soothing sign-off:

“We'll deal with the government. You have enough to worry about.”

It is time for citizens, the taxpayers who pick up the tab for disability benefits, to deal with the government, too. We simply can’t afford this level of spending on disability payments, especially infuriating when many claimants are as able to work as you and I are. Not only that, if we allow a large number of able-bodied people to collect disability, we erode the character of the nation. A republic cannot long exist if fraud and indolence are positively encouraged.