Social security disability insurance is a program that benefits millions of disabled Americans and their families and you qualify for this disability insurance only after a comprehensive medical record review. The applicant’s specific health condition must be among the list of impairments charted out by the SSA (Social Security Administration). To ensure that their disability claims are successfully submitted and they have good prospects of securing benefits, many applicants rely on social security disability attorneys. Law firms and attorneys taking up such cases find medical record review services for attorneys immensely supportive because it helps them quickly decide whether a case is worth taking up.
cnsnews.com reported recently that the number of people receiving SSA benefits crossed 60,000,000 for the first time at the beginning of 2016. The average monthly benefit that each beneficiary received was $1228.12 in December; $1229.85 in January, and $1230.70 in February. The beneficiaries included retired workers and their dependents, disabled workers and their dependents, and survivors of deceased workers. Though the program was designed initially to support physically and mentally disabled Americans and their families, it has been broadened to offer assistance to more people with physical problems, especially women.
A recent primer on the disability insurance program that was published by the Urban Institute provides some important highlights.
- The number of disability insurance recipients has more than tripled from 1.6% in 1970 to 5.5% in 2013. The reasons quoted for this increase are rapid aging of the population, more liberal eligibility criteria and declining employment prospects during the recession.
- The number of people receiving SSDI varies greatly state-by-state. New Hampshire and Maine have the highest rate of mentally ill people in the country. The highest rates of circulatory disease are found among people in the southern states like Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia.
- The most common problems or conditions that qualify for disability benefits are musculoskeletal disorders. There has been an unusual increase by 65% in the number of people receiving the insurance for disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, neck and lower back between 1996 and 2014.
- The highest rate of residents receiving disability is in the southern states with 8.9% receiving benefits in West Virginia in 2014. In Alabama, it is 8.5%, 8.4% in Arkansas and Kentucky; and 7.9% in Mississippi.
- Since the year 1991, the number of people joining the program each year per 1000 people has remained comparatively even. Depending on the state of the economy the “incident rate” of being placed in the disability program has remained between 4.7 and 6.4 per 1000 disability insured Americans.
- The disability insurance benefits disproportionately go to low income people. In the year 2010, slightly less than half of the beneficiaries between ages 31 and 49 belonged to the bottom income quintile.
- One third of men and more than half of women receive DI benefits less than $1000 per month.
- People who receive disability insurance rarely leave the program. Usually, DI recipients do not leave the program unless they retire and start receiving social security retirement benefits, or they die. It was found that the number of people who are removed from disability per 1000 existing beneficiaries rose from 174 in the year 1970 to just 76 in 2003. After that, the number of beneficiaries per 1000 removed rose slightly each year to reach 87.
The SSA is continuing to spend at a record pace in fiscal 2016. It spent $400,078,000,000 during the first five months of the fiscal year October 2015 through February 2016. In fiscal 2015, during the same period it spent $390,260,000,000. According to the monthly treasury statement for February, the budget estimate for the SSA for fiscal 2016 is $991,558,000,000-or $47,415,000,000 more than its record spending of $944,143,000,000 in fiscal 2015. The beneficiaries in February included retired workers, their spouses, children of retired workers, survivors of deceased workers, disabled workers, spouses of disabled workers, and children of disabled workers.