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Some statistics on who receives SSD benefits and why

While the Social Security Disability Insurance program is nationwide and available for a wide variety of illnesses and conditions, who receives SSD differs from state to state. The Fiscal Times recently reported on a primer by the Urban Institute that contains some interesting facts about SSD trends.

First, there is a great state-by-state difference between how much of each state’s population receive SSD benefits. However, all of the top five states are in the South, with West Virginia at the top at 8.9 percent of the population. Missouri’s rate is 6.4 percent, well below neighboring Arkansas’ 8.4 percent.

Of course, there are people in all 50 states receiving SSD, but the reasons tend to vary. The Urban Institute reports that the New England states of Maine and New Hampshire have the highest mental illness rates in the country, while Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia have the highest rates of people on SSD due to circulatory disease.

The fastest-rising type of claim is for musculoskeletal disorders, a very wide category that includes injuries to the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints or cartilage anywhere in the body. These claims increased 65 percent between 1996 and 2004.

Based on the report, it appears the typical SSD recipient lives in a low-income household. In 2010, nearly half of those aged 31 to 49 were in the bottom fifth of income brackets. And once approved, most recipients remain on the program until they retire or pass away, suggesting both the seriousness of their conditions and, likely, their lack of other sources of income.

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