Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 30, 2018 - The number of individuals seeking Social Security disability benefits is significantly decreasing. The decline marks an unexpected reversal of a decades-long trend that has threatened the program’s solvency and would have led to its culmination sooner than anticipated.
The New York Times reported the change is so dramatic that it has caused the Social Security Administration (SSA) to revise its estimates for how long the program will run before its funds are depleted. The government predicted two years ago that it would remain financially secure until 2023. However, SSA suggested in June that the program would not run out of money until 2032, which extends the 2017 projection by four years.
“The Social Security disability program plays a vital role in the lives of so many disabled individuals in the United States who are unable to work,” said Florida social security disability attorney David W. Magann. “Since funding is no longer expected to run out as soon as previously thought, those in need will be able to continue availing of the program’s benefits in the coming years.”
Around 1.5 million people applied for disability benefits in 2017, which marks the lowest number of applicants since 2002. The government has predicted a further decrease in the number of applications this year.
The report attributed the decrease in disability applications to several factors. With technological advancements, less physically demanding jobs are more readily available. In addition, individuals with modest disabilities are more suited for that type of work. Furthermore, employers are more willing to consider workers that were sidelined in the past.
The decrease in disability applications also reflects stricter eligibility standards for benefits. The SSA’s recent tightening of the approval process has made it harder for individuals to qualify for disability benefits. In addition, a growing number of aging baby boomers are leaving the program after qualifying for Medicare and Social Security retirement benefits.