Social security disability insurance, or SSDI, and SSI are available to individuals who are no longer able to work because of a chronic disability or illness. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must show that you have a condition that will last for at least a year or end in your death. You must also show that this condition prevents you from being able to work and earn a steady income. Finally, you must have paid into the system in the past by working and earning credits. Some claimants may also qualify for Social Security Insurance, or SSI, which is an income-based benefit for disabled individuals.
Below are some statistics to help you understand SSDI and SSI.
Basic SSDI Statistics
- In 2014, more than 10.2 million people received SSDI benefits. This number has been steadily rising since 1970, when only 1.8 million workers received SSDI benefits.
- Approximately 87.3 percent of the people receiving disability benefits were disabled workers who had paid into the system. 10.2 percent of people receiving SSDI benefits in 2014 were disabled adults and children who had not paid into the system, and 2.5 percent were disabled widows or widowers.
- During 2014, approximately 779,229 disabled beneficiaries stopped receiving SSDI benefits. The most common cause of benefit termination was the attainment of full retirement age, followed by the death of the beneficiary.
About SSDI Recipients
Most SSDI recipients are disabled workers, but disabled adults and children who have never been able to work may also be eligible for benefits. Benefit amounts vary based on the amount of money the recipient paid into the system, as well as other factors.
- The average monthly benefit for disabled beneficiaries receiving SSDI payments during 2014 was $1,165.39.
- Average monthly benefits tend to increase over time. The average monthly benefit awarded in December 2015 was $1,263.81.
- Women composed more than 48 percent of SSDI beneficiaries in 2014.
- The average monthly benefit for female disabled workers was $1,031.90 in 2014. The average monthly benefit for male disabled workers was $1,290.20 during the same year.
- The average age of SSDI beneficiaries in 2014 was 53.
- The highest proportion of disabled beneficiaries were between the ages of 60 and 64 in 2014. In fact, over 50 percent of disabled beneficiaries fell into this age category.
- Nearly one-third of SSDI beneficiaries were receiving benefits in 2014 because of a disease affecting their connective tissue and/or musculoskeletal system. Approximately one quarter of disabled beneficiaries were receiving benefits because of a mental disorder.
- In 2014, one out of every eight SSDI beneficiaries was also receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI Benefits by State
The number of individuals receiving SSDI benefits varies considerably by state, as does the average monthly benefit received.
- In 2014, the highest concentrations of disabled beneficiaries could be found in West Virginia, Mississippi, Maine, Kentucky, Arkansas and Alabama.
- In New York, disabled beneficiaries compose less than 5 percent of the population. 12.6 percent of the state’s population filed for benefits in 2014.
- Disabled beneficiaries compose between 6 and 7 percent of the population. Only 0.2 percent of the state’s population filed for benefits in 2014.
- The average monthly benefit for disabled workers in the state of New York was $1,282.78 in 2014.
- Benefits for disabled workers in the state of Vermont was $1,207.48 in 2014.
About SSDI Applications
Applications may be approved or denied during their initial review, after an appeal or during a formal hearing. Applications may be denied because the applicant doesn’t meet the SSA’s criteria for disability (medical reason) or because the applicant doesn’t meet the other requirements for SSDI and/or SSI (technical reason).
- During 2013, the Social Security Administration reviewed nearly 2.7 million applications for SSDI and SSI benefits.
- At the end of 2013, 469,470 applications were still pending their final decision.
- 912,785 applications were denied during 2013 for technical reasons. 607,055 applications were denied for medical reasons.
- The award rate for 2013 was approximately 30.3 percent.
- 34.7 percent of SSDI and SSI applicants received favorable medical decisions from the Social Security Administration after their initial application. The remainder were denied for medical reasons.
- At the reconsideration level, only 7.5 percent of applicants received favorable medical decisions in 2013.
- At the hearing level, 56 percent of applicants received favorable medical decisions in 2013.
Contact Schneider & Palcsik
If you have any questions about attaining social security benefits or supplemental security disability, fill out our contact form and we will respond as soon as we can, typically within 48 hours. We look forward to speaking with you.