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The Current State of Social Security Disability

A recent piece by the Center for American Progress nicely sums up the benefits and challenges of the Social Security Disability (SSD) program. Read a summary here, or visit the website of the Center.

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  • Social Security Disability protects 9 out of 10 workers --more than 160 million, providing basic protection in the event of an accident or illness that prevents them from working before full retirement age.
  • Benefits are modest, averaging $1,140 per month, but they play an important role in assuring economic security for the eight out of ten workers for whom SSD is their primary or only source of income.
  • The eligibility criteria for receiving SSD benefits are among the strictest in the world according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and only 40 percent of applicants actually receive payments when they can no longer work.
  • Many beneficiaries have multiple impairments.
  • Many recipients of SSD benefits are terminally ill and die within five years of receiving benefits.
  • The number of SSD beneficiaries has grown in recent years as baby boomers age into high disability years, but that increase has begun to level off as baby boomers retire and are no longer eligible for SSD.
  • Social Security has rebalanced the funds split between old age pensions and the disability program 11 times over the years; this is the best way to address temporary shortfalls caused by demographic factors.
  • The majority of private-sector workers do not have private disability insurance and could not afford it even if it were available. This is especially true for low-wage workers, defined as those who make under $12.00 per hour.
  • To receive SSD benefits, a worker must have worked at least one-quarter of his or her adult years. This includes five of the 10 years before the disability began.
  • In 2012, slightly less than one-third of recipients had a primary diagnosis of mental impairments, around the same number had a musculoskeletal or connective tissue disorder, and the final third had cardiovascular or neurologic conditions or were living with cancers, infectious diseases, injuries, renal disease, metabolic disorders and endocrine diseases.

Read the entire article for more information about the current state of the Social Security Disability program.

Given the complexity of documenting disability and the stringent eligibility requirements, it is important to have help developing and submitting a claim or appeal ing a negative decision from the SSD program. The advocates at Binder & Binder® have years of experience helping people obtain the disability benefits they paid for and for which they are eligible. As America's most successful SSD advocates, they will know the best way to handle your case.

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