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What accounts for the rise in SSD claims?

Time has had an effect on every aspect of our lives, and the Social Security disability system is no exception. In 1990, less than two-and-a-half percent of all working Americans qualified for Social Security disability benefits. In 2015, though, more than five percent of working Americans qualified. This large increase has put strain on the financial viability of the Social Security disability system, a strain that leaves many disabled individuals concerned about their benefits.

There are many reasons why disability claims have increased. Perhaps one of the biggest causes is that SSD was originally awarded to those who were diagnosed with certain accepted medical conditions. Nowadays, SSD benefits are awarded on a much more subjective basis. How so? The Social Security Administration now must look to see whether an acceptable medical condition allows an individual to perform work.

Another reason for the increase in SSD claims is the aging population. Older individuals are much more likely to be injured or get sick, conditions that can leave them unable to work. Also, with more women entering the workforce, they add to the number of people seeking SSD benefits.

Deciding whether to seek out SSD benefits can be an internal battle. After all, accepting one's disability can be emotionally damaging, but the disability itself can leave an individual on unsteady financial footing. In hopes of recovering money for their lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs, those who have suffered a disability may want to consider seeking legal assistance. The same holds true for those who may be struggling with deciding on whether they are ready to reenter the workforce, as well as those whose benefits may be threatened by reevaluation of their disability.

Source: Bloomberg Business Week, "Mapping the Growth of Disability Claims in America," Brendan Greeley, Dec. 16, 2016

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