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Is the Country Really Suffering a Rise in Disability Claims?


In the past few years, there have been concerns about the rate of disability insurance, and the functionality of the entire system. In fact, while it is often depicted as being out of control and impossible to sustain, the federal disability insurance program is more the victim of public relations, misquoted statistics, and political agendas. This is because any quoted figures or projections likely fail to take into account other factors, which can heavily influence the amount of people who file SSDI or SSI claims. Here, we’ll examine a few of those factors, and determine what that information may mean for those who may need to claim disability in the future.

Education Plays an Important Role

social security administration logoDifferent states have different percentages of claimants. Kentucky, for example, has a rate of 11-12.99%, while Wyoming has a mere 3-4.99%. These numbers correlate with the education of the workforce of those states. Kentucky, has an extremely low number of residents who have completed a high school education, roughly 18-20%. These numbers indicate factors which influence the amount of people dependent on social security disability insurance. Kentucky is simply one example, but the results have broader implications.

Aging Populations

We all know that your chances of becoming injured increase as you become older. Not only do you have a higher chance of becoming injured, but you also take longer to recover from injuries. Some of those who are injured after a certain age may never fully recover. That is why the increasingly older US population also causes a rise in the number of disability claims made. Currently, the average SSDI beneficiary is over the age of 50.

Industrial Hazards

Another factor that causes an uneven distribution of disability claims is the type of industries common in certain states. Besides having a lower educational level overall, Kentucky also has an extensive history with mining accidents. Logging, mining, and other physically demanding, dangerous professions naturally lead to a higher rate of disabilities, particularly if these professions do not require a high school education of its employees. Those factors, combined with a population that is growing older, can create a sharp increase in the number of SSI and SSDI claimants.

The Whole Picture

Six percent of the population of working age receives payments from programs like SSI and SSDI. Factors like education and industrial professions play a role in that figure, but they don’t give a sense of how difficult it is to get benefits. The fact is that, regardless of where a claimant lives, it is difficult to qualify for disability payments. Some applications may spend as long as three years in bureaucratic limbo. Many people find it necessary to hire a legal professional to expedite a claim or fight a claim denial.

Unfortunately, as US employers continue to hire workers either as seasonal or part-time employees, actual health benefits and retirement options continue to dwindle, leaving SSDI as the only safety net that many citizens can count on. The system itself continues to catch those who are falling into the financial red zone, but simply quoting a “rise in disability claimants” as a symptom of an ailing system is a distortion of the truth, and even more dangerously, a blindness to contributing factors that need real, precise remedies.

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