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Social Security disability applications leveled off in 2013

Critics take note: The number of Social Security disability insurance recipients did not markedly increase in the past year. According to data from the Social Security Administration, the number of SSDI recipients in New Jersey and across the country has only slightly increased since March 2013, when the total reached 10,939,936.

Since 2000, the number of applicants for SSDI benefits has steadily climbed. By 2010, the applicant volume had doubled to 2.9 million. The program is now one of the largest entitlement plans in the federal government, with payments totaling close to $140 billion in 2013. 

As a recent article noted, the SSDI program has been in the news because of several scandals, most recently a scheme involving some non-disabled applicants in New York. That negative coverage, combined with the explosion in growth, may explain why some critics have accused the program of being systemically flawed or corrupt. Others have questioned whether the standard for approving SSDI applications is uniformly applied by disability examiners across the country.

As a disability benefits attorney knows, the process of securing SSDI benefits is tough in any state. But that tough standard shouldn’t discourage deserving applicants from consulting with an attorney. The SSA recognizes numerous physical or mental conditions that might prevent an individual from working. Yet it is up to the applicant to present medical records and other evidence that demonstrates the degree of impairment caused by a particular condition. An attorney can help an applicant to fill out the necessary paperwork, compile the most persuasive evidence, and submit a strong claim.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Has Social Security Disability Enrollment Hit Plateau?” Damian Paletta and Josh Zumbrun, April 16, 2014

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