Blog posts

Why Has SSDI Enrollment Increased Over the Last 20 Years?

Submitted by Ram on

The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives millions of disability claims each and every year. Of these claims, only about thirty percent are approved during the initial stage of the application process. The remaining Social Security Disability applicants must undergo a lengthy and complex disability appeal process in order to obtain the disability benefits they may be rightfully entitled to. The question is, why are so many more people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits than ever before?

The SSA Tries to Address Lengthy Hearing Wait Times

Submitted by Ram on

Each and every year the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives millions of claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Many people are surprised to find out that the majority of these claims are actually denied by the SSA. In fact, only approximately 30 percent of the disability applications are approved during the initial stage of the claim process. The remaining 70 percent of applicants must pursue the disability appeal process in order to obtain the benefits they need.

Are SSDI Payments Taxable?

Submitted by Ram on

One of the more common questions asked of Social Security Disability representatives is “Are my SSDI payments taxable?” The answer, quite simply, is that it depends on your total income. For most people, if Social Security Disability benefits payments represents your only income, you will not be subject to federal income taxes.

Social Security Switches to Direct Deposit for Benefits

Submitted by Ram on

With enrollment in Social Security Disability programs skyrocketing, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) staring down a potential solvency crisis in as little as seven years, every little bit of money the SSA can save, they’re going to save. Phasing out paper checks for Social Security Disability benefits is expected to save the SSA a hefty one billion dollars over the course of the next ten years.

Social Security Disability in Puerto Rico under Investigation

Submitted by Ram on

Which states would you need to visit if you wanted to find the top 10 zip codes for Social Security Disability benefits? While New Jersey and Wyoming are the two most generous states in terms of approved Social Security Disability benefits, you could visit nine of the top ten zip codes for SSDI approval rates without visiting either of them. As a matter of fact, you could visit nine of the top ten zip codes for SSDI payments without visiting a single US state.

It may sound hard to believe, but it’s true. Nine of the top ten zip codes in terms of SSDI beneficiaries are found in the US territory of Puerto Rico. The acceptance rate of Social Security Disability claims is an incredible 63%. When you consider that only about 30% of initial Social Security Disability claims are accepted country-wide, it really makes you wonder what’s happening on the little island territory.

It has certainly made the Social Security Administration (SSA) wonder, at the very least. While states and territories are allowed, within the SSA’s guidelines, to make their own determinations regarding who is and is not awarded disability benefits, SSDI is a federal program. With Puerto Rico’s acceptance rate decidedly higher than the rest of the country, the SSA has sent in an investigative team headed up by the Office of the Inspector General to determine the reason.

Because the Puerto Rico Social Security Disability acceptance rate has nearly doubled in recent years, one theory is that the territory has widespread disability fraud. It is believed this may be a symptom of the island’s longstanding double digit unemployment rate. Puerto Rico currently has more than 15% unemployment, and has struggled with double digit inflation for over 30 years.

It’s important to note that while fraud is being considered as a likely cause in the rapid increase in SSDI recipients in Puerto Rico, that the investigation has not been conducted yet, and the Inspector General has not yet officially determined that fraud is a major factor. The Inspector General is expected to look at a number of other considerations as well in determining the root cause for the disproportionately high number of SSDI recipients in Puerto Rico.

As the number of people enrolled in Social Security Disability programs skyrockets across the country, we can expect that the SSA will begin to take a closer look at the inconsistent methods used to determine who is and who isn’t qualified for SSDI and other Social Security Disability programs. Other states with high approval rates are also likely to be scrutinized if their acceptance rates are significantly higher than the national average.

While the Office of the Inspector General has been quietly working on SSDI fraud cases since its inception in the mid ‘90s, including many cases in Puerto Rico, this current probe was largely in response to an article in The Wall Street Journal which highlighted the lack of consistency in the SSDI program from one state or US territory to the next. The report in particularly focuses on how much easier it seemed to be for applicants to be approved for Social Security Disability in Puerto Rico than in other US states and territories.