How Many People Receive Disability?

How Many People Receive Disability?

How Many People Receive DisabilitySocial Security Disability Insurance has been incredibly beneficial to those who experienced disabilities that rendered it impossible for them to work. Without the program, poverty levels would most likely be much, much higher due to the inability of these individuals to work for an income. However, one thing that’s not often mentioned is the disability rates of Americans in general, which have skyrocketed over the past three decades.

American Disability Rates

One might think that disability rates should be declining over the years, especially as fewer jobs are physical, employers are being forced to implement more stringent safety protocols, and medical advancements are being made every year that help to prevent certain injuries or illnesses from being disabling. There have even been laws passed that prevent employers from discriminating against disabled workers.

Yet the SSDI program is one that the federal government spends more money on than food stamps and welfare combined. The vast majority of the people who are collecting SSDI benefits do not work. However, they also are not counted as being unemployed. This can make it challenging to get a better overall view of how the economy is doing. The following are just a few facts about disability rates that might surprise you:

  • 40 million Americans have severe disabilities affecting their vision, walking, hearing, cognition, their ability to care for themselves, or the ability to live independently. This means that more than one out of every eight Americans is disabled.
  • When taking into account people with less severe disabilities, then the disability rate jumps to 18.7 percent. This is astonishing, considering the fact that minority groups make up less of the country (According to the 2016 U.S. Census, African Americans make up 13.3 percent of the population and Hispanics make up 17.8 percent of the population).
  • Roughly 50 percent of Americans aged 75 and older have a disability.
  • Roughly 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have a disability.
  • The majority of disabled Americans are between the ages of 35 and 64.

Considering how strict the SSDI application process is, and the fact that the median income for disabled individuals is less than 70 percent of the median income for those without a disability, it’s easy to conclude that the majority of Americans on disability are not attempting to take advantage of the program. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

States With The Highest Disability Rates

According to data collected in 2015, the following states have the highest disability rates:

  • West Virginia – West Virginia residents received $122.4 in Social Security disability benefits. Around 8.9 percent of the state’s population is on SSDI. Additionally, West Virginia has the lowest labor force participation rate at 52.7 percent.
  • Alabama – Alabama isn’t far behind West Virginia with 8.5 percent of its residents collecting SSDI. However, they received substantially more money in benefits at $293.5 million.
  • Arkansas – Around 8.4 percent of Arkansas residents received SSDI benefits. The state collected a total of $168.1 million in benefits that year.
  • Kentucky – Around 8.2 percent of the population of Kentucky received government assistance in the form of SSDI benefits. The state received a total of $257.7 million.

It’s also worth noting that certain parts of certain states receive more disability benefits than others, which means a state’s disability rate is not evenly spread throughout. For example, in Hale County, AL, almost 25 percent of all working-age adults are collecting SSDI benefits. It’s so common that the banks stay open late on the day that government checks come in.

States With the Lowest Disability Rates

Not all states have high disability rates. For example, both Hawaii and Alaska have disability rates of 2.8 percent, which means that they have the lowest disability rates in the country by far. Other states with disability rates below four percent include New Jersey, Nevada, Texas, Maryland, North Dakota, Colorado, California, and Utah.

Although American disability rates are high, they vary widely from state to state. If you’ve experienced a disabling condition and need professional guidance during the SSDI application process, then be sure to schedule a free consultation at Social Security Disability Advocates USA by calling us at (602) 952-3200.

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