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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Fewer People Applied For Social Security Disability Benefits--What Does That Tell Us?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Sep 03, 2020 | 0 Comments

Vox Media published an interesting article that discusses the fact that the rising economy, prior to the Trump-Covid-19 collapse, resulted in a drop in people applying for Social Security benefits. This simple fact seems logical on its face. But the Vox article digs deeper to see what we can learn from this changed circumstance.

The Great Recession

When the Great Recession hit in 2008 and jobs vanished, Social Security saw a dramatic rise in applications for disability benefits. This leads to a lot of speculation as to why this might be. Primary among them was the idea that healthy people who should have been working but could not find a job, turned to

The Numbers Keep Rising

Social Security disability.  This thinking implied that many of the Social Security disability claims during the Great Recession were not well-founded, or indeed, outright bogus.

Workers Wanted To Work

This line of reasoning is undercut by statistics showing that one-third of new hires were coming from the ranks of those who were previously considered disabled. This could suggest that people were in fact going on Social Security disability for bad reasons. But, it can also be read to show that these workers were always prepared to go to work and wanted to work but that the Great Recession squeezed them out of the labor market. If the plan had been to cheat their way into a government check, these workers would still be on disability.

More Opportunities For The Disabled

It appears that when unemployment was low, businesses were willing to look at potential hires they would not have when times were bad. They were also more likely to make reasonable accommodations for people who might otherwise have been unemployable. Indeed, many of those getting Social Security disability may have used those benefits to learn new skills that will allow them to re-enter the job market.

It Always Comes Back To Health Insurance

The next big challenge for getting the disabled back into the workforce is health insurance. Too many employers still do not provide adequate, if any, health insurance.  It is a big issue for the disabled to go back to work and lose their Medicare or Medicaid. This alone might be keeping tens of thousands of people who might be able to work on the sidelines.

Delay Me Once, Shame On You
I'm Not Going Through That Again

Another factor is how long it takes to get Social Security disability. A beneficiary contemplating a return to work is likely to consider how long it took to get benefits in the first place.  That has to make it harder to make the jump back into employment, knowing that if it does not pan out, another 2-3 year wait to get back on Social Security disability could occur.

Have you gone off disability and returned to work? If so, how did it go? Was in the right decision? Let me know.

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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Feel free to call with any questions or concerns you have about Social Security disability. I never charge for a consultation. In fact, there is no charge at all until we win your case. Unlike most lawyers, I never charge extra for things like telephone calls or making copies.