More Americans than ever are currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits because of illnesses and conditions that leave them unable to work full time. In March 2013, a record 10,939,936 were receiving SSD benefits, which represented a 42 percent increase in enrollment since 2004.
Many people agree that the jump in SSD recipients is a result of the aging baby boomer population, the economic downturn and a few other societal factors, but some cynics have charged that systemic fraud is to blame for the program’s growth. Recent scandals in Puerto Rico and New York have only increased the attacks on the SSD program, which serves as a lifeline to many vulnerable Americans.
However, it now appears that the number of Americans applying for and receiving benefits has leveled out. The Wall Street Journal reported that SSD applications have slowed down remarkably as the economy has begun to improve, and the number of program beneficiaries has remained largely stationary for about a year.
Of course, just because there are fewer people today applying for SSD benefits doesn’t mean that it will be easier to have an application approved. The Social Security Administration will continue to apply the same scrutiny to SSD applications it receives today as it did to applications that were received at the height of the recession.
What that means is that many Americans who are entitled to benefits will still be denied when they first apply. They will then have to rely on the appeals process to get the support they deserve.
Additionally, just as before, many of these applicants will need to depend on an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer to help them stand up for their rights and win the appeal in their case.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Has Social Security Disability Enrollment Hit Plateau?” Damian Paletta and Josh Zumbrun, Apr 16, 2014