Slepian Smith, PLLC

Application numbers are down but approvals are getting harder

The number of workers claiming Social Security Disability benefits is going down. So much so, that this reverse has helped bring the program back from the verge of insolvency. Recent projections on the viability of the program now put it at 2032, which is four years later than previously thought as recently as last year. Two years ago, the government warned that the program could run out of funding as soon as 2023.

Why is this happening?

The short answer to this question is: the economy. Unemployment is running at record lows, getting people back into the job market even after injuries. Baby boomers are starting to receive Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare, which is another contributing factor.

The New York Times published some startling facts trend summed up in a set of numbers:

  • Less than 1.5 million employees applied for disability coverage in 2017, with numbers running on pace to be even lower this year.
  • 8.63 million employees received disability benefits last May, which is down from 8.96 in September of 2014.

Unfortunately, there are fewer opportunities

Theoretically, fewer people are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance puts less burden on the program. However, this is not the case. The Social Security Administration has made it harder in some cases for workers to apply and gain benefits. Budget cuts have closed 67 Social Security offices since 2010, which has significantly impacted lower-educated workers with lower earnings. According to the Times, appeals have also become more difficult, with administrative law judges becoming increasingly skeptical about claims.

These hurdles mean that an attorney experienced in social security claims is more important than ever in helping injured workers get the benefits that they deserve. Whether it is an initial application or an appeal, knowledgeable guidance can represent the interests of the client, and help them avoid mistakes or costly errors in filling out paperwork.

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