BELLEVILLE, IL -- (Marketwire) -- 01/24/13 -- The fourth quarter 2012 unemployment rate for people with disabilities dropped to its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2008. The number of people with disabilities applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) also reached a four-year low, according to a study by Allsup, a nationwide provider of SSDI representation and Medicare plan selection services.
While this may seem to indicate that the worst of the economic crisis has passed, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was still 70 percent higher than for those with no disabilities during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Allsup Disability Study: Income at Risk. The full study is available at http://www.allsup.com/Portals/4/allsup-study-income-at-risk-q4-12.pdf.
Specifically, the unemployment rate averaged 12.4 percent for people with disabilities and 7.3 percent for people with no disabilities during the fourth quarter of 2012. This compares to 13.7 percent for people with disabilities and 7.9 percent for people with no disabilities during the third quarter of 2012. These figures are based on non-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"The discrepancy in the employment rate between people with no disabilities and people with disabilities is concerning," said Tricia Blazier, personal financial planning manager for Allsup. "If more people with disabilities capable of working were provided the opportunity to do so, the trust fund for the Social Security disability program would be stronger. These individuals would be paying into the trust fund just as other workers do."
Beginning in 2013, the projected assets of the Disability Insurance Trust Fund will fall below 100 percent of the annual costs, according to the 2012 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds (2012 OASDI Trustees Report). The DI Trust Fund is projected to exhaust its reserves in 2016.
At that time, revenues from payroll taxes will cover only 79 percent of benefits. This means there would be a 21 percent cut in benefits to the millions of people with disabilities so severe they are unable to work, as well as to their families. At year-end 2012, more than 8.8 million disabled workers received an average monthly benefit of $1,130.34, and nearly 2.1 million children and spouses of disabled workers relied on average monthly benefits of nearly $334.
SSDI Applications Continue to Decline
While the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is still significantly higher than for people with no disabilities, the number of people with disabilities applying for SSDI has declined for the second year in a row.
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