New employment numbers reveal the difficulties that disabled Americans face in returning back to work even while they are receiving assistance in the form disability benefits. Over the first three months of 2012, the unemployment rates moved up for both disabled Americans and those without a disability.
For the last three months of 2011, the unemployment rate for those without a disability was 8.1 percent; that number increased slightly to 8.4 percent over January, February and March of 2012. For those with a disability, the increase was larger, climbing from 13.2 percent to 14.6 percent.
In the first quarter of 2012, over 700,000 Americans submitted an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits, an increase over the last three months of 2011 and an increase over the first quarter of 2011. Over all of 2011, almost three million applied for SSDI benefits.
All of these numbers will have practical consequences for anyone hoping to get benefits. Increased unemployment rates and increased applications add to the time it takes for disabled Americans to start receiving benefits. Current SSDI applications average about 800 days until the applicant starts receiving benefits.
Given the lengthy wait time and the signs that the economy is far from fully recovering (which also adds to wait times), we recommend applying for benefits as soon as you stop working. We posted several weeks ago about what applicants can do while they wait for a disability benefits decision. For more information on the SSDI application process, help is available from a Tulsa Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney.
Are you a recipient of SSDI or SSI benefits? What advice do you have to share with recent applicants?