From 1996 to 2015, the number of individuals in the United States who were of working age but who were receiving disability benefits shot up. New Jersey residents may be interested to hear, however, that in rural areas of the country, the rate of those receiving disability benefits is two times that of urban areas of the country. In rural areas, an average of about 9 percent of those who are of working age are recipients of disability benefits. That number sits at 6.5 percent nationally, and at 4.9 percent in urban areas.
If more people are receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income, it might seem like these benefits must be easy to obtain. However, this is not true. Only approximately four out of every 10 applicants are ultimately awarded benefits. The process can take two or more years and necessitate one or more appeals.
So, what is causing the uptick in those receiving benefits? Part of the answer may be demographics. Baby boomers are aging, and more of them are becoming disabled. In addition, there are more women working outside the home than in the past, which could also be a reason for the increase. Also, the basic fact that the population in the United States is growing could have something to do with the increase as well. However, some experts also believe that the legislative broadening of what is defined as a disability may also be a factor in the growth of recipients.
That being said, those receiving benefits do not necessarily receive enough to meet all their financial needs. The maximum amount a person receiving SSI benefits can receive each month is $735. SSD benefits are based on what a person earned while working, but averages out to under $1,200 a month. However, those receiving SSI or SSD benefits may also receive other government benefits, such as Medicaid or Medicare.
In the end, while it may seem like more people are receiving disability benefits than in years past, obtaining these benefits is still a complicated and lengthy process. Therefore, those who are considering applying for them may want to do so with the assistance of an attorney, who can help ensure that one’s application is thorough and can represent a person throughout the appeals process if necessary.
Source: The Washington Post, “Did you know in rural America, disability benefit rates are twice as high as in urban areas?,” Terrence McCoy, July 22, 2017