The number of American workers awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments is down for the fourth year in a row, according to statistics released by the government in late November.
In 2014, 412,855 claimants were given the go ahead for monthly checks, down from 459,732 in 2013 and down almost 25 percent from the 2010 high for the program.
The data reflects the conventional wisdom that when unemployment goes up, as it did with the financial crisis, more people seek to go on the disability to get money coming in, but when jobs are more plentiful they stay in the workforce to obtain a higher standard of living.
For the vast majority of workers, SSDI payments are only a small fraction of what they could make if they were able to hold on to a job.
The average monthly check for disabled male workers last year was $1,290, compared with $1,032 for disabled women.
Older workers make up the lion’s share of beneficiaries. While men and women between 25 and 29 account for 1.9 percent and 1.5 percent of disabled beneficiaries the numbers zoom to 27.7 percent and 26.8 percent for men and women between 60 and 64.
Spouses receiving SSDI accounted for less than 2 percent of the worker total.
(Note: this could be in part because of the big delays in hearings, that number has gone way up.)