When individuals are unable to work because of physical injuries or illnesses, they may be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Although some individuals qualify to receive benefits from Social Security until they reach retirement age, other people can start working again after a few years.
Social Security created programs that were intended to help injured or disabled workers transition back to the workforce, but many individuals are struggling to do so. With so many people already unemployed, individuals who need accommodations are struggling to find or keep jobs.
Thankfully, Social Security is able to provide many of those individuals the financial support they need. Last year, roughly 8.2 million people received benefits. Ten years ago, that number was only about 5 million. Statistically, that means about one in every 21 Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 receives benefits.
The increase in the number of individuals receiving benefits can be attributed to a few factors – some good, some bad.
Baby boomers are at the age when their health is not as strong as it was. Repetitive stress injuries, muscle and joint pains, and mental illnesses may all be enough to prevent people from performing to their highest abilities. Because of budget cuts across the board, employees who require special accommodations may receive a job termination letter before receiving special accommodations.
An article in the New York Times also suggested that because of the volume of applications submitted, administrative judges may be pressured to move cases through the system quickly. The article suggested that it is faster for judges to approve claims than deny them.
Read more in the next post for more information about the impact the economy has on the Social Security Disability claims that are submitted and approved.
Source: New York Times, “Disabled, but Looking for Work,” Motoko Rich, 6 April 2011