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Why are disability rates increasing?

Disability Rate Increases

If you suffer from a disability or medical condition that leaves you unable to work, you may qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). These benefits can help you pay for any medical bills and everyday living expenses.

To receive disability benefits through the SSA, you must fill out an application to be sure you qualify to receive benefits. Over the past few years, the acceptance rates for disability benefits have risen, and there are many reasons that may contribute to this rise.

Economy and Job Market

One of the largest reasons for spikes in disability benefit rates is the job market, or in most cases, the lack thereof. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, during one of the country’s most recent large economic downturns, disability benefit applications rose 21%. The reasoning behind this fact is that people who are laid off are looking for ways to supplement their loss of income, so they look to every outlet possible. When finding another job is simply not an option, it makes sense that some of these people would attempt to seek financial assistance through some type of medical disability.

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Women in the Workforce

The ratio of men and women in the workplace is more balanced than it once was. In the past, fewer women worked, and therefore, fewer women were paying into the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

Nowadays, more and more women regularly pay into social security, and seek disability benefits when they become disabled. This means that a whole new segment of the population is applying for and receiving disability benefits, contributing to the rise in rates.

Medical Advances

Advances in medical technology are one reason contributing to the rise in people receiving disability benefits. One way this is seen is through veterans. Injuries that would have been fatal in past wars from years before are now easily treatable, but when the injured veterans return home, they are still unable to work because of both their medical and mental conditions.

Besides veterans, with today’s medical capabilities, other people who suffer from medical issues have a similar problem. Prematurely born babies are more likely to survive, but they may grow up to have disabilities that require benefits. The same is the case for people who have had a heart attack, stroke, or similar medical crisis. People in these cases are more likely to survive, but that doesn’t mean that they will be symptom free, make a full recovery, or be able to work with their resulting medical ailments.

Rising Population and Baby Boomers

The population in America rises each year, which is simply a matter of fact. But besides the fact that the population rises, the population is also aging.

Baby boomers, people born in the “baby boom” of post-World War II, have aged into retirement. These people, between the ages of about 50 to 70, are considered in their peak years for experiencing disabilities and medical conditions that have left them unable to work. If people in this age bracket are laid off and retirement is not an option, it will most likely be difficult for them to find new work, so seeking disability benefits may be a common option.

Getting Help with Your Disability Benefits

If you applied for disability benefits and were denied, despite this recent rise in acceptance rates, consider hiring a lawyer or disability advocate. A lawyer or advocate will help you throughout the appeals process to ensure that you maximize your chances of approval for disability benefits.