Number of Oklahoma SSDI Recipients Increasing

The Oklahoman ran a story this month saying that the number of residents in the state on federal disability programs has increase over the last decade. According to the paper, in 2011, “nearly 187,000 Oklahomans of working age received disability benefits — a 73 percent increase since 2000.”

The paper reported, “The total benefits, which included those for disabled workers’ spouses and children, were about $173 million.” Areas with the highest number of people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) were in southeastern Oklahoma, and included Pushmataha and Choctaw counties.

We have done several blog posts explaining why the number of people collecting benefits has increased. Last year, the Associated Press reported that the rise stems from an “aging population, a surge in women workers, changes in the law in the 1980s and a terrible economy in which disabled people can’t find jobs.”

According the AP, a study done by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), found that the “biggest jumps in the disabled population came from aging Baby Boomers.” The report said that from 1996 through 2009, as members of the Baby Boomer generation were entering into their 50s, “the approximate period during which the baby-boom generation entered their 50s – the share of disabled worker benefits awarded to older workers (age 45 and older) rose from 67 percent to 76 percent.”

According to the CBO, during the same period, the number of SSDI benefits going to younger workers decreased—from 31 percent to 22 percent among adults ages 25 to 44. “Baby Boomers’ aging would have boosted enrollment in the DI program even if no other factors had changed,” the CBO report said.

The idea that more people are collecting benefits simply because the Social Security system is easy to “scam” is untrue. Only in cases of severe disabilities are benefits awarded after an initial application. As the Oklahoman put it, “66 percent of disability claims filed with the Social Security Administration are denied.” People who collect benefits pay into the system and must have earned worked credits.

If you have questions about an application for disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free consultation. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys


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