Terence P. Jeffrey: “10,988,269: 2013 Closes With Record Number on Disability Getting Highest-Ever Monthly Benefits – CNS News

Posted on :Jan 01, 2014

By: Terence P. Jeffrey

CNS News

December 31, 2013

The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal  disability benefits hit a record 10,988,269 in December, up from the  previous record of 10,982,920 set in November, according to newly  released data from the Social Security Administration.

The average monthly benefit paid to a disabled worker also hit a  record of $1,146.43 in December, up from a previous high of $1,130.34 in  December of last year. Spouses of disabled workers also got a record average monthly benefit  of $308.13 in December, up from a previous high of $304.31 in August.  Children of disabled workers also received a record average monthly  benefit of $341.42 in December, up from a previous high of $337.13 in  May.

As CNSNews.com reported earlier this month, the number of Americans  getting disability benefits now exceeds the entire population of Greece,  which is 10,772,967, according to the CIA World Factbook. The record 10,988,269 total disability beneficiaries in December,  included a record 8,942,584 disabled workers (up from 8,941,660 in  November), 1,888,624 children of disabled workers, and 157,061 spouses  of disabled workers.

When CNSNews.com reported on Dec. 3, 2013 that the number of people  taking disability benefits had hit an all-time high as of November, it also incorrectly  reported that November was the 202nd straight month that the number of disabled workers in the United   States had increased. In fact, November was the 201st straight month that the number of disabled workers in the United States had increased. The last time the number of disabled workers decreased on a  month-to-month basis in the United   States was between January and  February of 1997, when disabled workers dropped from 4,385,374 to  4,357,251.

Beginning with March 1997, the number of disabled workers in the  United States has now increased every month for 202 straight months. A pamphlet available online from the Social Security Administration  explains how the government determines the amount of a person’s  disability payment and which members of their family can qualify for  additional disability benefits. “Your monthly disability benefit is based on your average lifetime earnings,” says the Social Security Administration document.

“Certain members of your family may qualify for benefits based on  your work,” it says. “They include: Your spouse, if he or she is age 62  or older; your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of  yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled; your unmarried child,  including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or  grandchild. The child must be younger than age 18 or younger than 19 if  in elementary or secondary school full time; and your unmarried child,  age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age  22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability  for adults.)”

“In some situations,” continues the SSA explanation, “a divorced  spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings if he or she was  married to you for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at  least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your  benefit or any benefits due to your current spouse or children.”

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

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