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An Overview of Social Security Disability Benefits (2017)

There is constant mischaracterization concerning Social Security Disability recipients who are often disparaged as being “too lazy” or “unwilling” to work. The facts reveal a much different reality.

By 2015, there were more than 10 million disabled persons were receiving Social Security Disability benefits. This is decreasing with the aging out of the Baby Boomers into retirement age. This decline began in September, 2014. Any overall rise in applications is a result of the aging population in the United States as 25% of the population is composed of Baby Boomers, the older of whom are in or entering their retirement years.

The annual number of disability awards rose to the highest level so far in 2015 with 839,429, of which 741,478 were disabled workers and the remaining were children and widows.

The final award rate for disabled worker applicants was 35% with 23% awarded at the initial application, 2% at reconsideration, and 10% at hearing. Denied disability claims average 61%.

The average Social Security Disability recipient has worked 22 years before receiving benefits.

8.1 million persons received Social Security Disability, 3.5 million receive Supplemental Security Income, and 1.3 million received both types of benefits. This accounts for only 16% of total benefits paid.

It is estimated that one in four twenty-year age persons will become disabled before reaching age 67.

67% of the private workforce does not have long term disability coverage other than SSD.

31% of workers report having no savings set aside specifically for retirement.

There are currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary which will be reduced to 2.2 by 2035.

The average Social Security Disability check is $1170/month.

Many SSD recipients are terminally ill with 1 in 5 males/1 in 6 females dying within 5 years of receiving benefits.

Most SSD recipients who wish to work to supplement their income only have work capacity to earn a few thousand dollars per year.

There is no widespread fraud in the Social Security Disability approval system with studies finding an allowance decision error rate of only 0.6%.

For these reasons, those advancing the argument that too many undeserving persons are receiving Social Security disability are clearly not knowledgeable of the facts.

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