The Number of Disability Beneficiaries Is Declining

All too often, it seems, Social Security disability is a favorite target for disparagement in Washington.  The often repeated lie is that Social Security Disability Insurance is one of the fastest growing social programs. It is not growing. In fact, the number of disability beneficiaries is declining.

The Huffington Post reported that “the percentage of the working age population receiving disability insurance benefits has increased only modestly, from 3.1 percent in 1980 to 4.5 percent in 2011. Not surprisingly, as many Baby Boomers have aged out of their 50’s and early 60’s ― prime disability years – and into their retirement years, the numbers of those receiving disability insurance benefits has stabilized, as expected, and begun to decline.” The Social Security Administration’s own data shown in this chart illustrates this point.

Social Security Benefits Graph

Critics of Social Security disability try to paint the program as a “long-term unemployment, permanent unemployment program.” This is totally off the mark. It is not an unemployment program. Benefits when they are granted (typically after a long and difficult process) are only awarded to individuals who, due to an illness or injury, are unable to work.

Social Security’s protections are earned and paid for by American workers through the FICA deductions from their paychecks. Social Security disability provides modest protection to those who are the most vulnerable — the disabled.


Are you having trouble recieving the Social Security disability benefits you deserve? Contact us online or call us directly at 402.933.5405

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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