For years, we have been warned about Social Security Disability Insurance claim numbers ballooning out of proportion. However, as recent data, shows disability insurance claim filings are actually on the decline, and have been so for several years.
The number of Social Security disability insurance claims filed in recent years reached their peak in 2014. This peak occurred because of two causes. The federal government expanded the definition of “disability” which resulted in more individuals being covered under the program and becoming eligible for benefits under the program. Second, as the baby boomer population aged, a natural and much anticipated number filed for disability.
However, since 2014, those numbers have started dropping significantly. Workplaces, for instance, are much safer than they used to be which has meant fewer accidents and occupational hazards that cause workers to become ill, injured and unable to work. Access to healthcare has improved with the Affordable Care Act which has allowed many to obtain preventative care and rehabilitative care therebu reducing the incidents of disabilty. Finally, our economy has moved away from physically demanding jobs as may manufacturing jobs have moved overseas.
Still, the myth that huge numbers are applying for disability is not borne out by statistical data. In addition to the decrease in the number of applications, approval rates for disability have dropped significantly in the last few years. Over the last ten years, approval rates have dropped from 57% to 49%.