It is no secret that the number of people applying for disability swings downward when the economy is in an upswing, as it is currently. On the flip side, when the economy goes into recession, then there are more applications for Social Security Disability.
However, the recent drop in the number of new applications for Social Security caught even those who are well-versed in the system by surprise. The number of people who applied for benefits was around 1.5 million in 2017, which is about a 25 percent decline since 2011. If the downward trend continues, the number of applications will be approaching a 20-year low.
Moreover, the overall number of people receiving disability is declining slightly as well. The number of people on disability approached 9 million, at 8.96 million recipients, in 2014, but it has since decreased to 8.63 million. This is not just because of an improved economy but also because a lot of Baby Boomers who were on the disability program are now transitioning to retirement benefits. There has also been some tightening of the program's eligibility standards.
While it is true that a stronger economy creates additional jobs that someone who would otherwise be disabled can accept, this does not mean that there will not always be some Kentucky residents who are simply too sick or too injured to find gainful employment. People in these circumstances should not hesitate to consider filing for Social Security as an option, as doing so may well help preserve a person's income or at least some of it.