Vermont is supposed to be one of the healthiest states in the country. Vermonters are touted as physically fit devotees of biking, hiking and, of course, skiing and other winter sports. However, a recent story by Vermont Public Radio has one wondering.
It turns out that Vermont and the other two northern New England states of New Hampshire and Maine have the highest rates of young adults receiving Social Security Disability. What's behind this surprising statistic?
More than 5,000 people under age 45 in Vermont receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Given the state's small population, that is a significant number. These are people who have been determined to be unable to work because of their disabilities. Another alarming fact, according to one state legislator, is that once these relatively young people become disabled, they remain on SSD until they are eligible for retirement benefits.
What's going on? It turns out that more young people leave Vermont in search of better job opportunities than in most other states. Some speculate that this means there are relatively fewer workers in the under-45 demographic in Vermont than in other states, making the 5,000 receiving SSD benefits more statistically significant.
Others point to high rates of opiate use, although there were no numbers provided in the story comparing Vermont with other states in this area. Still another possibility is that Vermont health care professionals are more knowledgeable and proactive when it comes to advising disabled patients about their options. Because Vermont has a relatively high rate of people with some type of health care insurance, disabled people may be more likely to be under the care of a doctor who can advise patients about their options.
Reading the article does not shed much light on why this high rate of SSD beneficiaries could be a bad thing. However, some political leaders in Vermont don't like it because they believe the state is missing out on the benefit of economic activity these younger workers could provide.
When looked at from another perspective, the high rate of SSD recipients means that more disabled people in Vermont are receiving the benefits they need, keeping them off welfare and allowing them to live decent lives, something that state lawmakers should be proud of.
This summary of the Vermont Public Radio story is brought to you by Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. If you are disabled and can no longer work, you owe it to yourself to get help with your claim for SSD benefits if you have been denied or are experiencing problems with your claim. Do what so many others have done: Call today.