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Reasons behind increase in number of SSD beneficiaries, varied and complex

Since its creation, the Social Security Administration's Disability program has provided much-needed income to millions of Americans and their dependants. Information released in April of this year shows that nearly 11 million Americans are currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits. What's more, experts contend that "one in 19 Americans have been approved for benefits."

Today, a growing percentage of SSD beneficiaries are women. In fact, statistics from 2012 show there has been a 19 percent increase in the percentage of female SSD beneficiaries since 1970. A new report released by the National Center for Policy Analysis, attempts to answer questions related to this increase.

Matters related to SSD benefits are often highly controversial and political. While the authors of the NCPA report consider major factors like the fact that more women work today than in 1970 and women are more prone to developing certain conditions such as arthritis; they also point to more nefarious motives.

No one wants to be stricken with a disabling condition or illness, yet millions suffer from debilitating mental disorders, musculoskeletal disorders and cancers. Since the 1970s, numerous disorders and medical conditions have been added to the SSA's Listing of Impairments. Additionally, the SSA regularly adds medical diseases and disorders to its list of Compassionate Allowances which guarantees sufferers expedited access to SSD benefits.

Another major contributor to the increase in both female and overall SSD beneficiaries is advanced medical research. Through studies and clinical research, much more is known about the painful and disruptive symptoms of many disorders and diseases. Thankfully, research has also engendered the development of new prescription drugs and therapies to help control painful and disruptive symptoms associated with these disorders. As a result, more men and women are seeking treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic back pain, migraines and arthritis.

There is often much debate over the expense of the SSD program and how to sustain funding. However, individuals who choose to blame the millions of men and women who suffer from debilitating conditions, diseases and disorders fail to see the bigger picture. In reality, without SSD benefits, a large percentage of SSD beneficiaries would become destitute. SSD benefits provide disabled individuals with the ability to maintain a certain standard of living and sense of dignity.

Source: Newsmax, "Study: Record Number of Women Receiving Disability Payments," Andrea Billups, May 29, 2014

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