Record Number: 10.9 Million Americans Collecting Disability

By:  Raven Clabough
Record Number: 10.9 Million Americans Collecting Disability

New data show that a record number of 10.9 million Americans are collecting disability payments, likely because of the expanded definition of "disability."

Newly released data from the Social Security Administration reveal that the number of Americans collecting disability payments is at an all-time high — 10,962,532 — more, to put to put it in perspective, than the total number of people living in Greece.

CNS News writes, “April was the 195th straight month that the number of American workers collecting federal disability payments increased. The last time the number of Americans collecting disability decreased was in January 1997.” But in 1997, that decrease was a miniscule one of just 249 people.

April’s beneficiary figures include a record 8,865,586 disabled workers, 1,936,236 children of disabled workers, and 160,710 spouses of disabled workers.

And as the number of Americans collecting disability continues to increase, the number of full-time workers in the United States continues to decrease.

CNS explains:

In December 1968, 1,295,428 American workers collected disability and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 65,630,000 worked full-time. Thus, there were about 51 full-time workers for each worker collecting disability. In April 2013, with a record 8,865,586 American workers collecting disability and 116,053,000 working full-time, there were only 13 Americans working full-time for each worker on disability.

Some analysts attempt to explain the increases in disability payments by pointing out that the Baby Boomers are beginning to retire and show health problems.

However, evidence indicates that the increase is instead a result of Congress dramatically expanding the definition of “disabled,” thereby permitting otherwise able-bodied Americans to receive government paychecks for the rest of their lives.

Forbes notes that the significant changes to the disability law date back to Ronald Reagan:

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