HomeFacts and FiguresDisability ChartbookApplications

Disability Chartbook


Download the Complete Disability Chartbook (Excel)

I. Applications
Contents:
Chart 1: DI and SSI Disability Applications (CY 1975-2013)
Chart 2: Workers Insured for Disability Benefits, by Gender (CY 1975-2013)
Chart 3: DI Application Rates by State as a Percentage of State Population Ages 18-64 (CY 2003, 2010, and 2013)
Chart 4: SSI Adult Disability Application Rates by State (CY  2003, 2010, and 2013)
Chart 5: SSI Child Disability Application Rates by State (CY 2003, 2010, and 2013)
Chart 6: Percent of Population in Poverty Applying for SSI, by Age Group (CY 1974-2013)

 
Charts

Chart 1a: DI Disability Applications (CY 1975-2013)

Last Updated February 2015

 

Download Chart 1a Data (Excel)

Chart 1b: SSI Disability Applications (CY 1975-2013)

Download Chart 1b Data (Excel)

The number of DI applications was fairly level from 1975 to 1990, but declined as a share of those insured because the rapid increase in women’s labor force participation increased the ranks of those insured.  DI applications, in numbers and as a share of those insured increased in the early 1990s, then subsided beginning in 1995. They surged again between 1999 and 2005, and after leveling off for several years grew dramatically after 2008 largely due to the recent economic recession.  SSI applications increased faster than DI applications from the early 1980’s though the early 1990s.  The sharp spike after 1990 was due to the Supreme Court’s 1990 Zebley decision which made the criteria for determining disability for children less strict and more comparable to the standards used for determining disability for adults.  The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act modified the impact of the Zebley decision and made other changes.  SSI applications declined sharply from 1995 to 1997 but began to increase again in 1998.  Although the total number of SSI disability applications has also increased since the recession, there has been no noticeable increase in applications as a percent of the population in poverty.  Numbers of applications for DI and SSI are not additive because some applicants apply for benefits under both programs.

 

Chart 2a: Number of Workers Insured for Disability Benefits, by Gender (CY 1975-2013)

Last Updated February 2015

 

Download Chart 2a Data (Excel)

The overall number of workers insured for disability benefits went from just over 86 million in 1975 to approximately 151 million by 2013, representing a 76 percent increase.  The number of insured men went from almost 55 million in 1975 to 78 million in 2013, an increase of 42 percent.  The number of insured women saw the largest growth in this category, going from 31.5 million in 1975 to 72 million by 2013 – an increase of 129 percent.  Women were 37 percent of the insured population in 1975; by 2013, they made up 48 percent of the insured population.

Chart 2b: Percent of Population Insured for Disability Benefits, by Gender (CY 1975-2013)

Last Updated February 2015

Download Chart 2b Data (Excel)

While the raw numbers demonstrate an obvious increase in disability insured status for both men and women, a slightly different story can be told when one looks at it in percentage terms.  For example, the percentage of working age men insured for disability has remained relatively flat since 1970, and has actually slightly decreased over the past few years.  The percentage of working age women insured for disability has generally increased over the years, but actually began to level off around the year 2000.

 

Chart 3: DI Application Rates by State as a Percentage of State Population Ages 18-64 (CY 2003, 2010, and 2013)

Last Updated February 2015

 Download Chart 3 Data (Excel) 

 

Chart 4a: SSI Adult Disability Application Rates as a Percentage of State Population ages 18-64 (CY 2003, 2010, and 2013)

Last Updated February 2015

 Download Chart 4a Data (Excel)

 

Chart 4b: SSI Adult Disability Application Rates as a Percentage of State Population ages 18-64 below 125% of Poverty Level (CY 2003, 2010, and 2013)

Last Updated February 2015 

Download Chart 4b Data (Excel)

 

Chart 5a: SSI Child Disability Application Rates as a Percentage of State Population under age 18 (CY 2003, 2010, and 2013)

Last Updated February 2015 

 Download Chart 5a Data (Excel)

 

Chart 5b: SSI Child Disability Application Rates as a Percentage of State Population under age 18 below 125% of Poverty Level (CY 2003, 2010, and 2013) 

Last Updated February 2015 

 Download Chart 5b Data (Excel)

 

Chart 6: Percent of Population in Poverty Applying for SSI, by Age Group (CY 1974-2013)

Last Updated February 2015

 

Download Chart 6 Data (Excel)

From 1975 through 1989, the number of children under age 18 applying for SSI equaled 1 percent or less of children in poverty.  That percentage began a sharp increase in 1990, the year of the Zebley decision (see Chart 1), and reached 3.5 percent in 1994 before beginning to decline.  It did not decline to its pre-1990 levels, however, falling only to 2.4 percent in 1997 before beginning to rise again.  Since 2002, it has been at or near the 3.5 percent level it had reached in 1994.

The number of adults ages 18 to 64 applying for SSI as a percentage of adults in poverty fell from an initial high of 10.8 percent in 1974, when the program began, to 4.6 percent in 1982 before beginning to rise again.  Since 2005, it has been at 9 percent or higher before beginning to decline in 2010.