More Disabled People Opt to Collect Paychecks, Not Benefits

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported that a record number of people with mental and physical disabilities joined the workforce while, at the same time, stopped receiving disability benefits.

According to the WSJ, 51,302 people went off disability so they can find “gainful” employment; that is the most since 2002. Meanwhile, 8.5 million people are still collecting disability in December 2018, down from 9 million the same month four years ago.

The average monthly jobless rate among disabled individuals last year was 8%, compared to 12.6% in 2014, according to data in the article. In fact, the unemployment rate has dropped faster than among the general population. Further, the overall unemployment rate in December 2018 was 3.9%, which nearly approached its lowest rate in nearly 50 years.

Among the reasons why more disabled people are returning to the workforce are that companies desperately need to fill entry-level jobs; the pay associated with these jobs is more than if they were to continue collecting benefits; some of the jobs offer health insurance in addition to their salaries; and the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) stricter eligibility standards in collecting government benefits. These include:

  • Whether the applicant is working (if they are working, the SSA does not consider them to be “disabled”
  • Whether the applicant’s medical condition is “severe”
  • If the applicant’s medical condition meets or is medically equal to the agency’s list of impairments
  • If the applicant can perform the same work that they did before
  • If the applicant can do any other type of work

The WSJreported that, when disability payment rolls started to increase too quickly, Congress decided to crack down on the number of accepted applications for disability payments, with some states having higher acceptance rates than others. In 2011, Congress examined the way administrative law judges granted the applicants’ requests, leading to an overhaul of the application process.

Determining whether you receive disability benefits is based, not just your income or assets, but on whether you meet the federal government’s criteria on what constitutes a disability. If you or a loved one need assistance in applying for Social Security Disability Income, it is important to follow through with the appeals process to potentially receive the money you may be entitled to. For assistance with disability applications and appeals, contact the attorneys at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP. With over 50 years of combined experience between its lawyers, our attorneys may be able to assist you or a loved one in obtaining SSD or SSI benefits. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office.

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