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Number of people on disability surpasses New York population

Published on July 11th, 2012

It’s no secret that the number of Americans relying on Social Security disability payments has been increasing dramatically over the last few years. But here’s a sobering statistic: The number of people in the U.S. who rely on such benefits has now passed the entire population of New York City.

The population of the Big Apple, at least according to the last census, is about 8,244,910. The number of people receiving federal disability insurance payments in June of this year stood at 8,733,461. That’s up from 8,707,185 in May.

In addition, in June there were 1,899,756 children of disabled workers receiving benefits, as well as 165,469 spouses of disabled workers.

Compared to years past, these numbers are much higher, as is the proportion of people receiving benefits compared to the number actually working. This year, there is one worker relying on disability payments for every 16.3 who are able to work. That number was one for every 19.1 workers in 2009 and one for every 35.5 back in 1992. That year, there were about 3,334,333 people receiving disability benefits.

The average payment made to recipients in June amounted to just over $1,111. Over the last several years, the Social Security Disability Trust Fund has seen deficits. The government has therefore borrowed money to make payments, which could become more of a challenge in the future as applications mount. The deficit in fiscal 2011 was over $25 billion.

It goes without saying, but the money needs to come from somewhere, as many people who are unable to work rely on disability benefits to make ends meet.

Source: CNS News, “8,733,461: Workers on federal ‘disability’ exceed population of New York City,” Terence P. Jeffrey, July 2, 2012

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