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Social Security Disability Insurance more accessible now

Social Security Disability Insurance exists to provide compensation to individuals after a work injury prevents them from returning to their previous occupation. It is not unemployment insurance, and it is not provided to individuals in Ohio unless they have spent at least five of the past 10 years working.

Although Disability Insurance exists to provide support to those who need it, an article in The Economist suggests that it is also one of the most confusing Social Security programs.

Since Disability Insurance was created by Congress in 1956, there have been numerous changes both with the application process and the workforce in general. Overall, fewer people work in manual labor jobs, and the medical technology to treat injuries has gotten better over the years.

Thankfully, the amount of coverage available to injured workers in Ohio has also become more accessible. Social Security currently provides nearly 420 percent more financial support to individuals than it did in 1990.

Over the years, the injuries and illnesses covered by Disability Insurance have expanded based on new knowledge. In 1984, Congress made it easier for individuals with mental illnesses and musculoskeletal disorders to receive the support they need.

Although many applicants are denied benefits the first time they apply, almost 90 percent of individuals who work with an attorney to appeal their cases are successful. The Social Security Administration is also testing programs that will help disabled workers transition back into the work force. Although these programs are still in their early phases, workers could benefit by the additional job support.

Source: The Economist, "The elephant in the waiting-room," 10 March 2011

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