As of March, 10.58 million people were being paid an average of $1,171.52 per month, which works out to about $14,058 per year. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough to push the average disabled individual above the poverty level. These 10.58 million disabled beneficiaries account for more than 17% of all Social Security beneficiaries as of March, and the $10.92 billion paid during the month accounted for 14.3% of Social Security benefits distributed (not counting Supplemental Security Income).
But it’s also worth noting that Social Security disability payments aren’t solely intended for qualified disabled workers. There are about 132,000 spouses of disabled workers who receive an average of $324.46 each month, and another 1.67 million children of disabled workers who are receiving a monthly check averaging $357.30 as of March. A benefits cut to disability means a potential long-term payout reduction for the spouses and children of these folks as well.
Social Security disability coverage also extends to roughly 96% of employed adult workers in the United States. To qualify (fully) for disability benefits, a worker needs to have collected 40 lifetime work credits. A worker can earn a maximum of four credits per year, with each credit equating to $1,300 in earned income as of 2017. In short, it’s pretty easy to qualify as long as you work at least part-time for 10 years.
Lastly, even though you probably don’t realize it, the average disabled worker is nearing retirement age. According to data from the SSA, the average age of disabled workers as of 2015 was 53.9 years old, up from 49.8 years in 1995. Though we’ve seen a rise in the number of disabled workers this century, we’re also seeing the age of these workers increase, too. Chances are that these older disabled workers are going to be reliant on their disability income to make ends meet. Read more from the Motley Fool financial information site: