The percentage of U.S. residents receiving Social Security Disability benefits has risen by a factor of 10 since 1960.
A. don't work
B. don't live in a household with a relative who works
C. Don't own a home
D. are verified by a doctor regularly to be disabled (unless you have a verified chronic condition for a specified amount of time).
Also, disability payments are MEASLY. My mother, while being required not to work or live with a working family member (which is why she can't get married to her boyfriend) gets 200 a month if she's lucky. She has had rheumatoid arthritis from the age of eleven. She's lucky to be alive. Yet she is expected to live on less than $3000 a year. That's two-thirds below the poverty line. Disability is NOT bloated. The "mess" is that people like her are denied their dignity.
I often hear liberals argue that red state residents are voting against their own interests when they vote against social welfare, because red state residents are disproportionately dependent on such welfare. But I think it's actually because of this that a lot of rural conservatives don't like these programs. They might be shooting themselves in the foot, but they also probably have a cousin or brother or uncle or neighbor that they despise and who is getting food stamps or Medicaid or disability and they're thinking "that no good lazy cousin of mine needs to get off his butt and work for a change, I have to work and so should he."
Conservatives also tend to have less empathy than liberals, are less tolerant and register more disgust and similar feelings. But... there is no doubt abuse of the system.
When it comes to public trust, I might suspect that this is more reliant on how the media frames it - either as a shocking, nation breaking injustice, or a natural occurence of human society, which can be adressed quite easily. However, I believe the decision for this framing may lay more with specific political viewpoints, than with naturalistic analysis.
Of course there is a problem in people, who would lose money, if they were employed, but I don't see, how your proposition actually adresses the problem. Investing in disabled people means investing in their autonomy and mobility. Cutting those benefits will in many cases cut their possibilities to work a job in the first place. Being disabled is expensive. Disabled people are getting hired less, even for jobs they might not have a disadvantage in.
There also is a strong connection between poverty and disability in the first place. On the matter of improving the employment rate, it seems more promising to me, to actually invest in infrastructure and jobs specificaly for disabled people.
The population of US residents between 50 and 64 (those most likely to claim disability without having reached retirement age yet) has risen from about 25 million in 1960 to about 60 million today. And the number of women in the workforce has grown even more.
Those two groups have higher rates of disabilities than the population overall.
That's why the numbers have risen from 500,000 to over 10 million.
Fraud, according to the Social Security Administration's data, occurs in "a fraction of one percent" of cases (or about 100,000).
Also, the number of conditions that are recognized as qualifying disabilities has risen substantially.
The median age is definetly higher than in 1960