Your source for news affecting the U.S. Social Security Administration/© Charles T. Hall
Looks like the number of applications has dropped steeply as well. Why are there so many awards not in current pay status? And why has the gap increased so much in the last five years?
I think the number of disability apps have dropped for a number of reasons: baby boomers transitioning into retirement age, an improved economy has more people back to work and the large backlog acting as a deterrent to filing (people reconsider filing when they know they're looking at 2+ yrs for an eventual potential award). I think the lower receipts is actually good because it counters the narrative that SSD is "out of control" and needs to be reformed because it's too easy to get benefits.
Hmmm... missing the obvious here? Easily explained by the huge increase in those with health insurance.. When you have heath insurance and get treatment, you do not get worse and worse then become disabled. When you get treatment for your diabetes, your feet don't fall off, when you can get more than just emergency care, you get things like stroke and cardiac rehab.
While I understand your points, 12:57, I would counter and say that expanded health insurance has also helped people obtain SSD benefits. I can look at my practice as an example. Before the ACA, I would see clients being denied for lack of objective medical evidence because they could not obtain needed medical care. But now that almost all of my clients have Medicaid (I thankfully practice in a state that allowed the Medicaid expansion), these same cases are being approved because I at least now have some clinic records and perhaps an x-ray to corroborate my client's complaints. I fear that the repeal of the ACA will not only harm my clients' health but also their chances of obtaining disability.
I believe that SSA actuaries predicted this.
I am sure there are several things in play here, none of which are related to Obamacare. ALJ approval rates have declined significantly in the last several years, at the same time that the backlog has increased. These two factors probably account for most of the declining trend of current receiptients. However, more and more baby boomers are reaching full retirement age while fewer are meeting "magic" ages of 50 and 55 on the grid ages. This probably explains most of the decrease in applications, also, although the wait for a hearing clearly is a deterrent to applying for some. Naturally, this SHOULD lead to higher approval rates, but it wouldn't surprise me if it didn't
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