Social Security Disability Applicant & Awards Numbers Have Fallen
Social Security Disability applications and awards have fallen by over 25 percent since 2010, which results in 600,000 fewer beneficiaries over the past four years. As a matter of fact, Social Security’s trustees are hopeful that the number of SSDI claimants could remain flat over the next 20 years. This is a significant shift, and it’s great news for SSDI’s financial bottom line.
Trends in Disability Insurance Applications and Awards
Actually, the Social Security Administration predicted that this down trend would happen. For most of SSDI’s history, the number of beneficiaries has grown. But that growth was mostly due to several demographic factors: population increase; baby boomers were becoming middle aged, when the odds of becoming disabled rise sharply; and a greater number of women joined the workforce and earned coverage. At the same time, raising the full retirement age to 66 meant that disabled workers would remain in SSDI for a longer period of time before switching into retirement benefits. The recession and a slow recovery caused a further surge in SSDI applications, and the program received less tax income than the SSA had projected.
Changes Have Resulted in Fewer Disability Insurance Claims
In the past few years, however, the number of beneficiaries has fallen, as have program costs. Demographic and economic pressures have eased somewhat. And Baby Boomers are reaching retirement. As the economy has recovered, the number of SSDI applications has fallen significantly.
In the last few years, SSDI applications and payments have fallen even faster than predicted, a steeper decline than in past economic recoveries. One factor may be the SSA budget cuts, which forced field office closures. The cuts also contributed to a record-breaking backlog in disability appeals, which may have deterred applications and thus contributed to less claims being filed. Another factor is falling allowance rates for disability appeals. Of course, these are short term trends. The assumption is that the declines will likely taper off in the next several years.
The declining enrollment has significantly improved SSDI’s financial outlook. As the number of enrollees declined, overall costs have fallen, and projections seem to indicate stability over the long term. The Social Security trustee’s most recent report projects that SSDI’s trust fund will remain fully funded through 2032, which is ten years later than their projection of three years ago.
Fixing Social Security Disability
The improvement in SSDI’s finances means that lawmakers have at least some breathing room to figure out how to address Social Security’s long-term funding shortfall before the retirement and disability reserves are depleted in 2034. Since millions of workers rely on these benefits when they become unable to work due to sickness or injury, this is good news indeed.
These trends continue to be in flux, and actuaries’ projections differ greatly. Our Long Beach Social Security Disability attorneys keep their eyes on the trends and reports, will continue to be sure that you have the information you need if you find yourself in need of our assistance.
Long Beach Social Security Lawyers
If you or a loved one is unable to work due to a disabling injury, medical condition or disease our skilled and experienced lawyers are here to help you get the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.
The Law Office of Cantrell Green is a group of highly qualified and experienced disability attorneys who have obtained millions of dollars in Social Security Disability benefits for thousands of clients in Long Beach, Orange County and the greater Los Angeles. Our Social Security lawyers care about every client, and fight tirelessly to obtain the benefits you deserve.