01 Feb Number of Social Security Disability Applications Drop Since 2010 Peak
The New York Times reported a drop in social security disability benefit applications in the recent years. Some of the reasons listed in the article include a strong economy, the increased scrutiny Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) applications are getting, and the increase in the aging population being eligible for government programs like Medicare and general social security retirement benefits. The recorded drop has been in the hundreds of thousands.The National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives, an advocacy organization for claimants, also published an article about the drop. In that article, they state the peak of SSDI and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) applications was 2010, at the height of the great recession. Since then as the economy has improved applications have been reduced. Another reason why applications have dropped can attributed to a damning report by CBS’ 60 Minutes program in 2013 stating the system was being defrauded by applicants. The report titled Disability USA detailed the massive fraud some people have been able to get away with on the system.That story led to congressional hearings and discussions in the legal community about the program and what should be done about it.
The Social Security Disability benefits legal scene has encountered huge changes in the past few years. Famed social security disability firm Binder & Binder filed for bankruptcy in 2014. It was also featured in the 60 Minutes investigation about the SSDI program. Since its bankruptcy filing, the firm has been winding down eventually laying off their employees and shutting down their Long Island headquarters in 2017. The firm was very active in the space and famous around the country for their commercials about the practice.The strong economy has been another reason why applications have fallen. The thinking is more people are able to find jobs that pay better than what they would get in SSDI benefits so they do not pursue their case. The Social Security Administration publishes a report every year about the SSDI program. In their 2017 report, SSA stated 10.1 million people were paid SSDI benefits and about 859,000 disabled workers had their benefits terminated. The average age of recipients was 55 and the monthly benefit for the recipient was approximately $1,196. They also stated some of the recipients received SSI payments as part of their income.
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