What Is the Ratio of US Workers to US Workers on Disability?

The ratio of people collecting disability insurance in the US to those working nearly quadrupled from 1967 and 2012. In 1967, there were 65 times as many workers as there were workers on disability. By 2012, there were 16 people with jobs to every one person on disability. Experts note that standards for receiving disability insurance changed significantly during that time period, with increasing numbers of workers claiming mental illness and chronic pain conditions as disabilities that prevented them from maintaining employment.

More about disability programs in the US:

  • Some analysts have blamed the high unemployment rate caused by the 2007 recession for the increase in disability claims. Many workers found themselves out of jobs for long periods of time, creating significant stress, which then caused debilitating mental and physical disabilities.

  • As of 2012, disabled workers received 19% of all Social Security payments.

  • The US Social Security Administration supports vocational rehabilitation for the disabled through its Ticket To Work program. Participants can receive job assistance and retain partial benefits for a period of time while working. If attempts at obtaining work are not successful, participants can continue to receive full disability benefits.

More Info: www.ssa.gov

Discussion Comments


If a person is on disability, take their driver's license and suspend their vehicle license. If they can't work, they shouldn't be attempting to control two tons of rolling steel.


I think the disability system is way overused and many people scam it. However, I find myself on it now due to chronic mood disorders. I feel embarrassed but still thankful to have it.

My anger and mood swings at work were upsetting to all and eventually made it impossible to work and I had an emotional breakdown and stormed out. I am scared to death of going back to work and expect to fail. I would like to go back because I made so much more money at my job than on SSDI.


My accident happened Aug 2008 at work and is on videotape. I have been fighting workers comp since in the state of Maine. I have a herniated disc, plus bulging discs and pain all the time.

I lost my credit and and home because I can't work, and SSI keeps denying me. I think I will be dead before anything gets settled. They both just want to drag you though and hope you die before anything gets done, I think!


The people out for "Bipolar" illness just bankrupt the system. I have a serious back, neck and shoulder problem but because I'm not "100 percent" disabled I get nothing.


My immediate neighbors to the left and right of me and even the one across the street, are all on disability and come and go without any indication that anything is physically or mentally wrong with them. This is one of the reasons, in fact the main reason, why this country is in the financial shape it's in. It's not too difficult to figure out why we are where we are.


That is not good for the complete society.


My neighbors are on disability and they cut grass and he even got on the roof a few times this summer. There's nothing wrong with them except it runs in the family. The wife tells me the whole family is on disability for mental reasons, and we want to know where our money is going?

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