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Growth in Social Security disability benefits was anticipated

The Social Security disability insurance program serves a vital purpose as a safeguard against a physical or mental disability that renders work impossible. However, readers may have questions why the SSDI program has expanded in recent years.

First, federal programs must keep pace with the country’s population growth. In addition, shifting demographics have also impacted the SSDI program. As the baby boomers age and approach their retirement age, they enter more disability-prone years. Another reason may be increased awareness and treatment options for severe, work-prohibitive conditions for which workers may not previously have sought disability benefits. 

Thanks to increased awareness and assistance from resources like the Social Security Administration’s publications and the counsel of an experienced disability benefits attorney, around 8.9 million American disabled workers have successfully applied for SSDI benefits. About 1.9 million dependent children of a disabled parent also receive benefits, as do 157,000 spouses.

The increase in SSDI beneficiaries may cause periodic financing shortfalls in the program’s trust fund. However, what critics of the SSDI program often fail to mention is that the program’s expansion was not only anticipated, but is now projected to decline as more baby boomers retire. The problem of financial solvency is also not new. Since the founding of the SSDI program in 1956, Congress has rebalanced its trust fund on 11 different occasions.

If you have a serious condition that prevents you from working, a consultation with a disability benefits attorney may provide helpful information about available options, such as the SSDI program.

Source: Center for American Progress, “Social Security Disability Insurance - A Bedrock of Security for American Workers,” Rebecca Vallas and Shawn Fremstad, July 8, 2014

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