Women’s labor force participation rate (LFPR) – the percentage of individuals employed or looking for work – reached an all-time high of 60 percent in 1999, but since then has steadily declined to 57.2 percent in 2012.
Though the labor force participation of women is now the lowest in more than 10 years, record numbers are receiving Social Security disability benefits. Increases in disability rates were expected as the share of the workforce comprised of women grew and more women worked long enough to obtain the minimum three years of credits required to qualify for Social Security disability. In fact:
•In 1970, women comprised about 28 percent of workers receiving Social Security disability benefits.
•In 2012, almost half (48 percent) of the 8.8 million workers receiving benefits were women.
The recent growth in female disability beneficiaries has been comparable to that of men:
•From 2000 to 2012, an average of 392,682 women were added to the disability rolls each year, compared to 455,818 for men.
•In 2001, the number of women who received disability benefits was equivalent to 3.4 percent of employed women; in 2012, the number who received disability benefits was equivalent to 6.3 percent of employed women.
•From 2000 to 2012, for every woman who was awarded disability benefits, 1.6 women became employed. For every man awarded disability benefits, only 1.3 men became employed.
•Men comprise a slightly greater share of disability recipients, but disability among women has grown faster than among men over the last decade.
Younger Women Are Receiving Disability. A growing trend is that an increasing number of younger women are receiving disability awards. From 2000 to 2012, men outnumbered women in benefits awarded overall. However:
•In six of the last 12 years, more women ages 35 to 39 were awarded benefits than men.
•In eight of the last 12 years, more women ages 30 to 34 were awarded benefits than men.
See full story here: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba797