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Social Security Disability: Don't Believe Everything You Read or Hear

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There's an interesting table in the 2014 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. It shows that despite the noise about the "terrible" increase in people applying for and receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, the actual trend is in the other direction. Since 2011, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the number of applications for benefits has been inching downward. This is even though the number of civilians who describe themselves as disabled has increased slightly (by .6 percent) since 2008.

No One Gets Rich From SSD

The compendium also provides a variety of information about the status of the disabled in the United States, whether or not they are receiving SSD benefits. The information goes a long way to disputing the blanket statements made by opponents of the SSD program. For example, some people and media outlets would have you believe that undeserving people are getting rich from disability benefits. However, the poverty rate among individuals with disabilities (ages 18 to 64) was 28.7 percent. The poverty rate among people without disabilities was 13.6 percent. The gap in earnings between the disabled and the non-disabled suggests that very few, SSD beneficiaries are getting rich because they receive SSD benefits.

Poverty Rates Among Disabled Vary

Statistics like these should be used carefully. For example, not all the people who report that they were disabled are receiving SSD benefits. And not all people who receive SSD benefits are poor, according to the statistics. The poverty rate among the disabled varies, making blanket statements less useful. For example, Puerto Rico had the highest poverty rate among the disabled. The lowest rate of poverty among the disabled was in Wyoming. However, the gap between the incomes of the disabled and the non disabled was slightly different. Although the gap in the poverty rates between the disabled and the not-disabled is lowest in Wyoming, the gap was largest in Maine, not Puerto Rico. This is presumably because the incomes of the non-disabled in Maine are higher than they are in Puerto Rico.

Contact An Advocate For Help

These examples illustrate why is can be easy to make mistakes when talking about disability and poverty - there are many variables to consider. Similarly, people should not assume that they are ineligible for SSD benefits or should not try to obtain them just because they have heard negative things about the program in the news media or have applied once and been turned down. Rather, they should get the assistance of experienced advocates like at those at Binder & Binder, America's most successful SSD advocates.

If you are disabled and cannot work, turn to Binder & Binder for help with your SSD claim or appeal. They have helped thousands of people just like you.

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