Disability rate rises in worse economic times

Discussion in 'Labor & Employment' started by kazenatsu, Jul 9, 2024.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

    May 15, 2017
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    The disability rate has risen. There is a theory that the disability rate rises in poorer economic times. Probably because there are many borderline disabled people who could still find and work a job in better economic times, but in worse economic times it is too difficult to get a job, or they may not feel it is worth it for the opportunities available.

    US population
    2005 - 295.5 million
    2018 - 326.8 million
    10.6% increase

    disabled adult children
    2005 - 770,000
    2018 - 1,130,000
    46.7% increase

    Meaning there was a 36.1% increase in the rate of disabled adult children between 2005 and 2018.

    disabled workers
    2005 - 6,520,000
    2018 - 8,540,000
    31% increase

    Meaning there was a 20.4% increase in the rate of disabled adult workers between 2005 and 2018.

    (statistics come from here)

    U.S. male civilian labor force participation rate
    2005 - 73.3%
    2018 - 69.1%

    (statistics come from here)

    America's hidden unemployment problem, by Chris Isidore, CNNMoney, June 5, 2011

    Want to know how the job market is doing? Just look at the disability rolls.
    The Great Recession has created a growing underclass of millions of unemployed who are unlikely to ever re-enter the labor force. Instead, they're relying on government support that they qualify for because of health issues.

    There are 8.3 million workers receiving disability payments, an increase of 1.2 million, or 17% from when the recession began.

    Workers with modest health problems are usually willing to take jobs when they can get them. But when they can't, they turn to the government. That's why the number of people who apply for -- and get approved for -- disability payments typically increases during bad economic times.

    "There are people who, despite disability, are out there working when times are good," said Mark Lassiter, spokesman for the Social Security Administration, which runs the disability programs. "We've seen this increase in applications during other recessions.

    The program is disguising just how bad unemployment really is. If those 1.2 million new post-recession beneficiaries were still counted as unemployed, the national unemployment rate would be nearly a full percentage point higher than it currently is.

    Another problem is that workers on disability often become dependent on the lifeline, and never return to work. Only 0.4% of workers in the program return to labor force each year.
    Though the benefits are relatively modest -- only about $1,000 a month -- getting approved for disability can be a difficult process of appeals and hearings that typically lasts a year or more. Few who have qualified want to risk those benefits for a job that might not last.

    "It's certainly not as good as earning wages," said Mark Duggan, an economics professor at University of Maryland, and a leading expert on the program. "But if they're on disability, they're anxious about saying, 'I'm going to try to go back to work and give up this sure thing.' There's a good chance you may not get back on. It's a long and uncertain process."

    Politicians don't want to be seen cutting benefits to the disabled, especially if it would drive up the reported unemployment rates.
    Disabled workers: America's hidden unemployment problem - Jun. 1, 2011 (cnn.com)

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