A just released report from Social Security says that the surge in disability claimants may have passed and year-over-year disability claims are expected to decline in 2016. The report validates what many supporters of Social Security (and we at Cuddigan Law) have been saying for some time that the increase in disability claimants in recent years has not been due to individuals trying to “game the system” as some politicians have claimed, but has been the result of known demographic trends. As we reported in the Cuddigan Law newsletter last September:
“The growth in the program is the result of well-known and predicted shifts in demographics and the labor market. According to the Center for American Progress, “aging Baby Boomers advancing into their high disability years, the increase in the number of women in the labor force, and population increases” have all contributed to a rise in the number of those applying for disability insurance. These trends are hardly surprising and, in fact, have been foreseen for some time now. As far back as 1995, Social Security statisticians have said this would happen.”
Hopefully, this report will help our elected officials focus on preserving benefits for disability recipients who depend on these benefits to care for their families. While the annual Social Security Trustees report contained some positive news—the Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund has sufficient money to pay benefits until 2035, one more year of solvency than was previously forecast– the disability fund is still in jeopardy of running short of funds and having to reduce benefit payments as soon as late 2016.