The Urban Institute recently issued a report detailing demographic trends affecting the social security disability (SSDI) program.

The report details the growth of the social security disability program over the past 45 years. In 1970, there were 1.5 million DI recipients and, in 2013, there were nearly 9 million disabled workers. The report cited the growing pool of older individuals, the changing job market for less-educated workers, and changes in federal policy, as the reasons for the sharp increase in DI beneficiaries, including eligibility criteria and the Social Security full retirement age.

According to The Urban Institute, most DI recipients come from lower-income status’; 47 percent of recipients ages 31 to 49 fell in the bottom 20 percent of household incomes, while only 4 percent of recipients in the same age group were in the top 20 percent.

The age distributions for DI workers tilt more towards the older age groups because, as the population ages, there is a higher probability of illness. In 2013, approximately 32 percent of male DI workers were 60 years old and above, up to full retirement age when DI switches over to social security. Looking at males ages 55 to 59, the percentage drops from 32 percent to 24 percent. For female recipients, the percentages are similar with just a slight increase in the lower age groups. The average age for females is 53.4, and for males is 53.5.

The report also showed disparities between the amount of benefits men and women receive on a monthly basis. In general, the monthly average benefit in 2013 was $1,146, but men collect more than that at $1,271 a month while women collect a mere $1,011 a month- 25 percent less than what men collected. The stated reasons for the discrepancy are the variations in earning capacity between men and women, and the types of jobs each gender typically occupies.
To qualify for DI, an applicant must have a disabling illness. In 1996 approximately 20 percent of beneficiaries were suffering from musculoskeletal or connective tissue diseases diseases, and by 2014, the percentage had increased to 31 percent according to the report. Circulatory diseases, on the other hand, decreased to only 8 percent in 2014 from 12 percent in 1996. The number of individuals qualifying under mental illness has been fairly consistent, falling between 30 and 34 percent overall.

The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles Social Security Disability claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. For more information, please call (866)-557-7500 or click here to speak with our office.