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SSA report helps debunk misperceptions about the disabled

Published on December 5th, 2013

Over the last several months, the Social Security disability program has been the focus of some rather severe criticism due in large part to a series of unfavorable reports conducted by several renowned national news outlets.

Specifically, this criticism can be traced to the assertion made by these news outlets that the tremendous upsurge in the number of disability claimants over the last 30-plus years could somehow be traced directly to fraudulent conduct or perhaps even laziness on the part of many of these claimants.

Fortunately, a recently released study by two economists at the Social Security Administration should serve to definitively disprove these otherwise incorrect — and irresponsible — assertions regarding the reasons behind the relative explosion in disability claimants.

The two economists closely examined nearly 40 years of demographic data documenting how the ranks of disability claimants have swelled from 250,000 new claimants a year in 1970 to almost 900,000 in 2008. Here, they discovered the following:

  • 90 percent of the increase in disability claimants over the last 30-plus years can be traced directly to such factors as the increase in the number of women in the workforce, population growth and the aging of the baby boomer generation.
  • 94 percent of the increase in disability claimants from 1990-2008 can be traced directly to these same factors.
  • The remainder of the increase, 10 percent and 6 percent respectively, can be traced to a slight jump in what’s known as the “disability incidence rate,” which in basic terms is the factor that’s left after everything else has been accounted for.

Experts point out that the disability rates were bound to go up over the last several decades — regardless of population growth or more women in the workforce — due to the simple fact that more and more baby boomers, a decidedly large generational group, began entering into more disability-prone age ranges.

Here’s hoping that this report will help debunk some of these altogether unfair misperceptions concerning disability claimants and lead news outlets to take a more measured approach to this topic.

If you would like to learn more about securing much-needed SSD benefits, consider contacting an experienced and dedicated attorney who can help guide you through the complex process.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Explaining the ‘mystery’ of where all the disabled are coming from,” Michael Hiltzik, Dec. 3, 2013

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