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Why are there more Social Security Disability recipients?

Some news commentators would have you believe that people receiving Social Security Disability benefits are lazy folks who simply don't want to work anymore. The naysayers point to the significant increase in the number of recipients as proof. Could they be right?

The short answer is "No." The primary reason for the increase in SSD recipients is the baby boom. The huge number of children born in the 15 years after World War II are now at the age where they experience the disabilities often suffered by people in those age groups.

Another reason for the increase goes back to the age of Ronald Reagan. In 1984, Congress passed the Disability Benefits Reform Act. This legislation expanded eligibility for SSD. The biggest change to come from this act was the shift from specific impairments to a more general consideration of ability to work and overall medical condition.

In particular, the legislation allowed disabled workers to qualify based on the combined effects of multiple medical conditions. Before the act passed, Social Security required any one condition to be disabling on its own.

It also used mental illness and pain levels as measurements of the ability to work, something that hadn't been considered before.

Despite these changes, it is still difficult to qualify for SSD. Just look at the number of people whose applications are turned down.

If you, like so many others, were turned down after submitting your application for SSD benefits, take steps to help yourself. Do what hundreds of thousands of others have done: Call Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and find out how they can help you get the benefits you need and deserve.

Source: New York Times, "From Welfare Queens to Disabled Deadbeats," by Paul Krugman, Jan. 27, 2013.

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