HomeFacts and FiguresDisability ChartbookBeneficiary Characteristics

Disability Chartbook


Download the Complete Disability Chartbook (Excel)


VI. Beneficiary Characteristics

Contents:

Chart 1: Initial DI Worker Awards by Major Cause of Disability (CY1975-2012) 
Chart 2: Number and Percentage of Beneficiaries by Type of Impairment (2013) 
Chart 3: DI and SSI Beneficiaries with Diagnosis of Mental Impairment (CY 1986-2013) 
Chart 4: Share of DI Worker Beneficiaries by Age Group (CY1984-2014) 
Chart 5: Share of SSI Disabled Beneficiaries under Age 65 by Age Group (CY 1974-2013) 
Chart 6: Average Age of Newly Awarded DI and SSI Disabled Adult Beneficiaries (CY 1960-2010) (DI) and (CY 1980-2010) (SSI) 
Chart 7: Number of DI Worker Beneficiaries by Gender (CY 1970-2014) 
Chart 8: Percentage of U.S. Population Receiving DI Worker Benefits by Gender and Age Group (2014) 
Chart 9: Number of SSI Disabled Adult and Child Beneficiaries by Gender (CY 1993-2013) 
Chart 10: Average Monthly DI Worker Benefit in 2014 Dollars (CY 1974-2014) 
Chart 11: Monthly SSI Individual Federal Benefit Rate in 2013 Dollars (CY 1974-2013) 

 

Charts

Chart 1: Initial DI Worker Awards by Major Cause of Disability (CY 1975-2012)


Last Updated February 2015

 

Download Chart 1 Data (Excel)

For many years, the mental impairment category was the largest single category of State agency disability awards. By 2010, however, musculoskeletal impairments began to exceed mental impairments as the basis for award.  Other major causes are cancer and impairment of the circulatory system. The percentage of cases awarded on the basis of a circulatory impairment, however, has declined substantially over the years.

One contributing factor to the growth in mental impairment cases is the special review carried out to identify and evaluate 130,000 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries who were potentially eligible for Social Security disabled worker benefits because of earnings while receiving SSI.  Many of these claims had a mental disorder diagnosis.  This review was substantially concluded by March 2011.

 

Chart 2: Number and Percentage of Beneficiaries by Type of Impairment (2013)

Chart 2a: DI Worker Beneficiaries


Last Updated February 2015



 Download Chart 2a Data (Excel)

 

Chart 2b: SSI Beneficiaries, Ages 18-64

Last Updated February 2015



Download Chart 2b Data (Excel)

 

Chart 2c: SSI Beneficiaries Under Age 18

Last Updated February 2015



Download Chart 2c Data (Excel)

 

Chart 3a: DI  Beneficiaries with Diagnosis of Mental Impairment (CY 1986-2013)

Last Updated February 2015



Download Chart 3a Data (Excel)

 

Chart 3b: SSI Beneficiaries with Diagnosis of Mental Impairment (CY 1986-2013)

Last Updated February 2015



Download Chart 3b Data (Excel)

The 1980s saw significant changes in legislation, regulation, and adjudicative standards for mental disabilities.  In August 1985, there was a complete revision of the adult mental listings, followed by limited revisions in 2000.  Since the mid-1980s, the number of beneficiaries with a diagnosis of mental impairment has grown significantly in both the DI and the SSI programs.  The growth in SSI has been particularly pronounced.

 

Chart 4: Share of DI Worker Beneficiaries by Age Group (CY 1984-2014)

Last Updated June 2015




 Download Chart 4 Data (Excel)

The age distribution of DI worker beneficiaries largely reflects changing demographics.  DI beneficiaries are converted to retirement benefits at full retirement age (FRA), the age at which they can receive unreduced retirement benefits.  The 1983 Social Security Amendments raised that age, which was then 65, beginning with people born in 1938 or later.  FRA is will gradual increase from 65 to 67 over a 22-year period, with an 11-year hiatus at which the retirement age will remain at 66. 

 

Chart 5: Share of SSI Disabled Beneficiaries under Age 65 by Age Group (CY 1974-2013)

Last Updated February 2015



Download Chart 5 Data (Excel)

Throughout the SSI program’s history, there have been slow increases in the number of disabled beneficiaries for all age groups.  The youngest age bracket saw sharp growth in the early 1990s after the Zebley Supreme Court decision changed the definition of eligibility for children.  That growth began to level off after 1996’s Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act tightened the SSI childhood criteria.  The single largest group receiving SSI today, however, is the age group 50-64, representing nearly one-third of all beneficiaries.



 

Chart 6a: Average Age of Newly Awarded DI Beneficiaries (1960-2010)

Last Updated February 2012

 

Download Chart 6a Data (Excel)

 

Chart 6b: Average Age of Newly Awarded SSI Disabled Adult Beneficiaries (1980-2010)

Last Updated February 2012



Download Chart 6b Data (Excel)

There has been an overall downward trend in the age of newly awarded DI beneficiaries.  The average age of newly awarded adult SSI disability beneficiaries has been consistently lower than that of new DI beneficiaries.

 

Chart 7: Number of DI Worker Beneficiaries by Gender (CY 1970-2014)

Last Updated June 2015

 

Download Chart 7 Data (Excel)

Women comprise an increasingly large proportion of DI worker beneficiaries.  In 1970, they were 28 percent of the DI worker beneficiaries; by 2014, they represented 48 percent.

 

 Chart 8: Percentage of U.S. Population Receiving DI Worker Benefits by Gender and Age Group (2014)

Last Updated June 2015

 

Download Chart 8 Data (Excel)

The proportion of the population receiving SSDI rises rapidly with age for both men and women for many reasons. First, the likelihood of having disabling conditions increases with age and the large baby boom generation is now moving through their most disability prone years.  The criteria for eligibility above age 50 are somewhat more lenient than at younger ages. Finally, many of those awarded disability at earlier ages have impairments with longer life expectancy and will remain on the program until they convert to retirement benefits. 

 

 Chart 9a: Number of SSI Disabled Adult Beneficiaries by Gender (CY 1993-2013)

Last Updated April 2015

 

Download Chart 9a Data (Excel)

Women represent the majority of SSI disabled beneficiaries between 18 and 64.  In the years shown, they ranged from 55 percent to 57 percent of this group.

 

Chart 9b: Number of SSI Disabled Child Beneficiaries by Gender (CY 1993-2013)

Last Updated April 2015

 

Download Chart 9b Data (Excel)

For beneficiaries under age 18, on the other hand, males are in the majority, making up 62 to 67 percent of the total in each of the years shown.  The diagnostic group with the largest imbalance by gender is mental disorders (other than intellectual disability).  Males account for 73 percent of that group.

 

 Chart 10: Average Monthly DI Worker Benefit in 2014 Dollars (CY 1974-2014)

Last Updated June 2015

 

Download Chart 10 Data (Excel)

Expressed in 2014 dollars, the average DI worker benefit saw a gradual increase, from $987 in 1974 to $1,165 in 2014.  

 


Chart 11: Monthly SSI Individual Federal Benefit Rate in 2013 Dollars (CY 1974-2013)

Last Updated February 2015

 

Download Chart 11 Data (Excel)

 Expressed in constant dollars, the SSI Federal benefit rate has been fairly flat since the program began in 1974.