The Recession of 2007 led more individuals to file for Social Security Disability – reflective of a trend common during periods of economic downturn. During the aftermath, applications grew from 1.7 million in 2008 to 2.1 million by 2009.
This drags out the process for the claimant, as government employees have to contend with a greater workload. Further, even if your application gets processed, mistakes are more likely to happen when the Social Security Administration experiences an overload.
Not Enough Funds
According to a piece in the Los Angeles Times, Social Security trustees reported that the organization could reach insolvency by Fall 2016 and, by 2034, would only be able to cover 80 percent of scheduled disability benefits.
According to a report from CBS News, the organization is expected to have $45 billion less in payroll taxes for retirement, survivor and disability benefits by 2037.
Greater Number of Disabled Workers
In addition, the number of disabled workers has doubled since 1995. Factors contributing to this influx are the aging Baby Boomer generation, who have now reached their 50s and 60s, the average age for experiencing a disability. Furthermore, the rising retirement age forces more people to stay in the workforce longer, thus increasing their chances of getting injured on the job.
A poor economy negatively impacts Social Security from multiple angles. For one, individuals finding themselves out of work may apply for disability benefits. In fact, from 2001 to 2011, claims grew 50 percent as the economy lost 7 million jobs.
At the same time, a smaller workforce means that fewer individuals contribute their payroll taxes to Social Security. Those who are unemployed and desperate for work might settle on a lower-paying job, which means a smaller amount of money per person goes into the fund.