The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) has conducted annual Long-Term Disability Claims Reviews since 2005. In their latest quantitative and qualitative analysis, they correlate rising claims with economic uncertainty and "workers [taking] more personal responsibility for their financial security."
Social Security Disability claims data are gathered from 14 CDA member companies, which make up roughly three quarters of the commercial disability insurance marketplace.
Although claims increased in 2010 in Pennsylvania and across the country, many participating companies were surprised that a similar rise was not seen in 2009. Over half reported increased claims and most thought that the recession impacted their numbers.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit applications increased to 2.9 million while new SSDI receivers topped one million. It also showed that 8.2 million workers, almost 6 percent of the workforce, were receiving SSDI by the end of 2010.
Less than 5 percent of claims were due to job-related illness or accident, though about 90 percent of new long-term disability claims cited illness as opposed to accident.
The most common causes of new and existing disability claims in 2010 were diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, such as osteoporosis, back pain, arthritis, sciatica and spine disorders.
Following those diseases, nervous system related disorders, heart, circulatory system diseases and cancers were also common diseases leading to long-term disability claims. That includes ALS, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.
CDA companies paid over 587,000 disabled workers more than $8 billion in disability insurance payments in 2010. The number of workers approved for long-term disability insurance benefits increased 2.6 percent to 139,000 in 2010.
With the increased number of claims, more people are looking for support during the filing process. Often those looking to file claims turn to attorneys who specialize in Social Security to achieve the best outcome.
Source: Market Watch, "CDA Releases 2011 Long-Term Disability Claims Review: $8.3 Billion Paid in Claims Last Year," Sept. 22, 2011