Workplace diversity creates more demand for disability benefits

There’s no denying that the landscape of America’s workplaces has changed since the 1970s. Welcoming diversity in race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other categories has helped to revitalize and maximize the collective workforce potential.

The shift toward workforce equality has also brought social responsibilities. According to a recent report about the Social Security disability insurance program, more women and elderly in the workforce also increases the potential number of disability applicants.

The SSDI program has more than tripled in size since the 1970s, growing from 250,000 annual applicants in 1970 to almost 900,000 in 2008. Notably, the report concluded that the expansion of the SSDI program is largely due that increased diversity, as well as population growth and the aging baby boomers in the workplace.

Unfortunately, workplace equality does not make the process of applying for SSDI benefits any easier. Regardless of race or gender, Social Security Administration officials will look to see how an impairment or disease has affected a worker’s abilities. That measure of functioning may be written up in a residual capacity report, in which a doctor offers his opinion as to what work tasks and skills a patient may still be able to perform.

However, a Social Security disability attorney understands that the legal and medical definitions of disability do not always disagree. In some cases, multiple impairments may have a cumulative effect on an individual’s ability to work. Yet doctors or specializes may only be offering their analysis for a specific or single condition. For that reason, it is important for applicants to include all of their impairments in an SSDI application.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Explaining the 'mystery' of where all the disabled are coming from,” Michael Hiltzik, Dec. 3, 2013