Interesting findings behind rise in female disability recipients


The latest data shows that there are more female Social Security Disability recipients today than male recipients. But why? There may actually be several reasons behind the rise.

The latest data reveals that female Social Security Disability recipients have been outpacing male recipients on a continuous basis for the past 30 years. But why is this happening?

The data

According to a report recently released by the National Center for Policy Analysis, or NCPA, there’s been a steady increase in women collecting disability benefits since the 1970s.

The report revealed that in 1970, 29 percent of women were collecting Social Security disability benefits. At the turn of the millennium, that figure rose to 43 percent. And, the most recent data from 2012 shows that 48 percent of women are now collecting Social Security Disability benefits.

To the lead researcher, this is an interesting revelation considering that the study data also shows that the number of females in the workforce has actually decreased in recent years. In 1999, females made up 60 percent of the workforce; in 2012 that number decreased to roughly 57 percent.

So what’s the reason behind the statistic?

Age, genetics, qualification

There may actually be several reasons behind the rise.

Age may be one contributing factor. Information from the study shows that toward the end of the 12 year period from 1999-2012, more women in the 30-34 age range were collecting disability benefits than men in that same demographic.

And, as women age, they tend to be more susceptible to developing certain debilitating conditions like musculoskeletal disorders. Back pain and rheumatoid arthritis are among the conditions within this group. Data shows that roughly 25 percent of females in the 35-49 age group suffered from a type of musculoskeletal condition in 2000. Today, that figure is over 30 percent.

Further, women are also more prone to developing debilitating mental disorders like severe depression, anxiety, and bipolar. From 2000-2012, females receiving Social Security Disability benefits for mental disorders increased from roughly 11 percent to over 14 percent. The figure during the same period actually dropped for men.

In the past, many individuals with these types of debilitating conditions did not qualify for benefits. But in recent years, the government has extended the spectrum of disabilities. Today, many more types of conditions, such as those discussed above, are now classified as disabilities. In fact, the SSA just recently expanded the list of conditions under the CAL program, a program that allows certain critical conditions to get fast-tracked through the system.

Seeking help

The NCPA report reveals some interesting findings, but regardless of gender or age, financial assistance is available for those suffering from a debilitating condition that prevents them from earning a living. Consulting with a Social Security Disability attorney who can discuss the application process is advised.

Keywords: Social Security Disability, female recipients