Charts have been circulating on the Internet recently indicating that there are
“too many” Americans receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. News articles have warned that the number of people receiving disability income has reached an “all-time record” and that the high number of beneficiaries could cripple the system and cause Social Security to run out of funding very soon.
The reality, however, is that while there are many people receiving disability benefits, the actual number of recipients of SSD income is very small compared with the U.S. population and even compared with the number of disabled Americans. Benefits are very hard to qualify for, and most people who need benefits are going to have to get help from a Boston Social Security Disability attorney in order to even get their claims approved. Further, any increase in the number of people who are receiving SSD income is likely caused by the fact that the population is aging and people are getting sicker as they get older.
Considering Whether There are “Too Many” People on Disability
Media Matters of America recently set out to debunk the widespread myth that there are “too many” Americans receiving disability income.
First, Media Matters addressed the claim that there are more people on SSD benefits than there are living in Greece and in Tunisia. While this is true, it is not cause for alarm since the population of the United States is much, much larger than the population in either Greece or in Tunisia. In fact, there are more people in just the state of Ohio alone than there are in Greece or in Tunisia.
The number of disabled people receiving benefits needs to be looked at not in comparison with the population of other countries, but instead in comparison with the U.S. population as a whole. This number shows that there are actually a very small percentage of people who are receiving SSD income. In fact, the number of Americans receiving disability benefits is actually much smaller than the number of Americans with disabilities.
There are an estimated 316,128,839 people in the United States. Of those living here, there are around 57,000,000 Americans with disabilities. Yet, only 10,996,447 Americans are receiving disability benefits.
The fact that the number of people receiving benefits is so low may be indicative of the fact that it is actually too hard to qualify for disability income. The definition of disabled is very narrow, and those with short-term medical conditions are not able to qualify for any benefits from federal disability income programs. Further, unless the disabled individual has a specific condition and symptoms listed in the Social Security Administration’s blue book, then he likely will not qualify for benefits unless he can prove his health problem is medically equivalent. The application process takes months and requires proof of impairment from a qualified doctor, and even then most people need to appeal in order to get benefits when their initial claim is denied.
With so many barriers to actually getting benefits, fraud is very low and there are people who should be taking advantage of the SSD system that aren’t. This is the real problem, not the fact that there are too many sick or injured people getting help.
Call our Boston SSDI attorneys for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Mays v. Colvin – Disproving Ability to Do Sedentary Work, Jan. 23, 2014, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney Blog