A common recent criticism of disability benefits has targeted the rapid growth in the numbers of disability beneficiaries. There is no denying this fact. For most of the existence of disability benefits, the number of beneficiaries was around five million. We passed that number in 1995 and have not looked back. In 2005, there were around eight million beneficiaries, and we are currently over 10 million. Many critics suggest that this means something is wrong with the system, that fraud and abuse is rampant, but there are other, factually supported reasons why the numbers have grown.
Demographic and economic reasons
The first reason explaining the growth is demographic trends. As Baby Boomers age, they are more likely to suffer a disability that prevents them from working. Increased health risks is just an unfortunate part of getting older.
Additionally, women and minorities are in the workforce these days more than at any other point in history. With an increasingly larger pool of workers, we should expect increases in work injuries and an inability to work.
Economic reasons also explain some of the growth in disability beneficiaries. As we are still in the midst of the Great Recession of 2008, most job growth has come from those that pay less than $13 an hour. These jobs also tend to be more dangerous than higher paying ones, so again, increased injuries would be expected.
Finally, with a rough economy and high unemployment, many disabled Americans who are willing to work are unable to do so. The combination of a disability and inability to work are generally what qualify an applicant for disability benefits, and this is more likely to occur when economic times are roughest. If you would like to learn more about what the requirements are for disability benefits, information is available from a Tulsa OK Social Security disability law firm.
On Friday, we will discuss another big factor as to why the number of disability beneficiaries have grown – Congress.
Have you or a loved benefited from disability benefits? What tough times did they help you get through?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers