Beneficiaries of the U.S. Social Security Disability Program

Recently, The Urban Institute released a report, which details demographic data of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The report details the rapid growth of the program over the past 40 years, as well as how recessions have impacted the program.

According to the report, the number of participants in the program has steadily grown, reaching nearly 9 million disabled workers in 2013, up from only 1.5 million workers in 1970. With this significant increase, along with its corresponding costs to taxpayers, lawmakers have considered ways to reform the program. However, the goal should be to balance the needs of participants with the interests of taxpayers, considering that the program provides a much needed benefit for so many Americans.

Not everyone stays in the Social Security Disability Insurance program. For instance, in 2015, 817,045 beneficiaries left SSDI. More than half of the individuals that left the program did so because they transitioned into receiving Social Security retirement benefits, a third of the individuals left because of death, and only about 9 percent were terminated from the program because they did not meet the medical criteria any longer.

The report also analyzed the relationship between SSDI recipients and the unemployment rate over time. Since 1990, there has been correlation with both of the statistics: when one increases, so does the other. This was clear during the Great Recession in the late 2000s. For example, in 2007 unemployment was 4.6 percent, and there were 13.4 applications for SSDI per 1,000 workers. A year later, the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent, and the applications per 1,000 workers increased to 14.3. In 2009, the application rate was higher at 17.8 per 1,000 workers, and the unemployment rate correspondingly increased as well, at a high 9.3 percent. While significant, the report concluded that only about 25 percent of applicants were influenced by unemployment rates. Many individuals, because of an illness or disability, can only perform specific tasks. When the job market is more difficult, the jobs that accommodate the disabled and those with illnesses may not be as available. The SSDI program is an essential benefit for those who are unable to find employment that accommodates their individual circumstances.

If you have been denied social security disability benefits, or have related questions, contact the dedicated and experienced attorneys at Alegria & Barovick LLP for the representation you deserve. Call our New York City office at (212) 861-2800 or our Westchester County office at (914) 761-1133 or visit

2017-01-26T00:55:55+00:00 January 26th, 2017|

About the Author:

When the stakes are high, you want lawyers that have the experience and the passion to win. Anselmo Alegria and Andrew Barovick have been practicing law for over 25 years. They founded their firm in February, 2013. Since then, they have obtained significant recoveries for their medical malpractice and personal injury clients and they have also obtained SSD benefits for scores of disabled individuals who had been denied those same benefits when they first applied for them.