The amount of people applying for Social Security disability benefits is going down. This is unexpected news for experts, advocates and political leaders. And though some are celebrating this change in enrollment, others are asking why.
Is SSDI Enrollment Going Down?
According to The New York Times, new enrollments for Social Security disability benefits have gone down. In 2001, enrollments were at an all-time high of 2.02 million, but those numbers have fallen dramatically. Last year, there were under 1.5 million enrollments, and the downward trend seems to be continuing.
The total number of recipients for the program is also going down. Members of the baby boomer generation are reaching retirement age in record numbers. This has caused the number of disability recipients to go down as these people are moved to retirement benefits. This has also extended the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) financial forecast. Just two years ago, the agency expected funds for disability benefits to be depleted by 2023. Its new estimate predicts the fund will run dry in 2032.
At first, this would seem like good news, but experts are a little skeptical. Though many expected the number of people enrolling in federal disability programs to go down after the recession ended, they didn’t expect those numbers to keep going down. Some say it’s due to a strong economy, but others say the drop has been caused by the tightening of regulations.
Why Is It Getting Harder to Get Disability Benefits?
Spurred by political pressure, the SSA has been retraining administrative law judges that have a higher rate of approving appeals. This has decreased the rate of successful appeals from 69 percent in 2008 to 48 percent in 2015. Some advocates think this has scared many people away from applying for the benefits they need.
This development highlights why it’s important that your disability application is correct. The increasing wait times and stricter judges are making it harder for applicants. To make sure your application is as strong as it can be, you may need to contact a Tulsa disability attorney. The experience of a disability attorney can help ensure that the SSA gets the information it needs to approve your benefits.