Across the country, Americans are unemployed in record numbers. However, most are unaware of the significantly higher number of unemployed people with disabilities. In the third quarter of 2010, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 67 percent higher than for people without disabilities. With this increase in unemployment has come a rise in SSDI claims, leaving many waiting several months for benefits.
While the U.S. unemployment rate remains steady at 9 percent, it is much higher, at 15.6 percent, for Americans with disabilities. Accordingly, during the third quarter of 2010, the number of people applying for SSDI due to an inability to work climbed to over 764,000. This is an increase of 4 percent from the same time period in 2009.
So far in 2010, over 2.25 million Americans have filed disability claims. According to Paul Gada of Allsup Disability Life Planning Center, this number has increased exponentially just this decade. "The number of people filing for disability claims has doubled compared to 2001," he said. "Contributing factors include both the aging population and the high unemployment rate. Some people with disabilities are never able to return to work after a layoff."
Allsup reports that approximately 1.8 million SSDI claims are currently pending, with an average wait time of 28 months. Gada says that SSDI applicants need to act with urgency to ensure they receive benefits in a timely manner. "Someone who is qualified needs to apply as soon as possible given the backlog and to ensure they meet certain qualification restrictions," he said.
SSDI is available to individuals who are unable to work for 12 months or more because of a severely disabling or terminal condition. It provides an income that varies based on age, gender, and earning history and that is usually substantially less than an applicant previously earned from employment. We will continue to discuss SSDI trends in a post later this week.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Income at Risk: Quarterly Unemployment Rate for People with Disabilities Climbs along with SSDI Claims, Reports Allsup", 26 October 2010