Data for Disability Insurance Applications filed via the Internet
Fiscal Year 2012 and Onward

Last updated on July 14, 2014

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This dataset contains fiscal year data and is currently available in the following formats:

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Background

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for the Nation’s two primary federal disability programs:  Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Our disability workload has grown significantly and so has the use of the online disability application. 

Our goal is to make it easier and faster for individuals to file for disability benefits via the Internet from the comfort and convenience of their homes or offices.  In FY 2012 we expanded access to our Internet services by launching additional Spanish language services, including a Spanish language online application for disability benefits.  Also starting in FY 2012, online disability applications can be filed by claimants outside the United States.

The dataset includes monthly data at the national level from FY 2012 and onward for disability insurance applications filed via the Internet.  It also includes disability insurance applications submitted by all other channels (i.e., telephone, in person through a local SSA field office, or by mail) that could have been filed via the Internet because they met the criteria for applying online. 

Index:

Agency Program Description

The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers several programs which provide benefits to those who are both disabled and meet other program eligibility requirements. The process for determining whether or not a claimant is disabled is complex.  Depending upon a particular claim SSA might evaluate, among other factors, medical evidence establishing a disabling condition, medical and vocational evidence determining the capacity for work that might remain, the availability of possibly suitable employment, and severity and length of disability.  For SSA purposes a claimant is either found disabled or not disabled as SSA awards disability benefits only for long term disability and not for partial or temporary disability.  A description of SSA’s disability programs can be found at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability

SSA administers two different programs which pay disability benefits:  Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The disability standard for SSDI and SSI benefits are the same except for issues of blindness and for SSI Disabled Child benefits (SSI DC). Eligibility for disability benefits for both programs administered by SSA has two sets of eligibility criteria, namely disability and non-disability criteria.  A favorable finding is required for both disability and non-disability criteria in order for benefits to be awarded. 

Pursuant to statute, claims for disability benefits are usually sent by SSA to a state agency which, following SSA rules and guidelines, makes the determination for SSA as to whether or not a claimant meets the disability criteria. 

The state agencies’ primary responsibility is to make determinations for SSA on the issue of disability for claims filed by residents of the state or similar entity.  However, states with heavy workloads might transfer cases to other state agencies or to a federal component, and states with available capacity may receive transferred cases from other state agencies.  

The state agencies for Maine, New York, Michigan, Washington and Montana also process SSA disability claims for residents of Canada.  In addition to the fifty states a disability unit exists in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  The term “state agency” applies to these additional entities as well.  SSA also refers to a state agency as a Disability Determination Service (DDS).  Disability determinations for any other residents not mentioned are handled by a federal component.

Beyond the factor of disability, benefit eligibility and amount for SSDI depends primarily on the earnings of the person against which a claim is being made.  In addition to being found disabled, benefit eligibility and amount for SSI benefits depends on income and resources available plus other factors such as residency and US citizenship status.  While a state agency makes a determination concerning whether or not a claimant is disabled, SSA makes a separate determination as to whether all applicable non-disability eligibility requirements have been met.  Both determinations must be favorable in order for disability benefits to be awarded.

Data Collection Description

SSA’s Online Disability Benefit Application provides Internet front-end activity counts.  When a disability application is filed via the Internet, an indicator is set in the record that indicates the information was received via the Internet.  An SSA Claims Representative retrieves the online disability application and enters the information into SSA’s Modernized Claims System (MCS).  When a disability application is filed via telephone, in person through a local SSA field office, or by mail, an SSA Claims Representative enters the information into SSA’s MCS.  Data from MCS is downloaded nightly to the Title II Operational Data Store, SSA’s primary source of management information for claims process.  Counts of disability application receipts are summarized to provide both total and Internet counts at the national level.  Dates provided are based on the District Office Workload Report (DOWR) receipt date.  DOWR is an integral part of SSA’s field office work measurement system.  DOWR data is used to provide weekly and/or monthly volume counts of workloads that represent the mission of the agency.

Data Dictionary

Field A:  Federal Fiscal Year (FY), a federal fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30.

Field B:  Reporting Month, by DOWR Month indicates the month the data was produced. DOWR months are administratively set reporting periods and do not necessarily correspond exactly to calendar months.

Field C:  Total Social Security Retirement Insurance Applications, indicates the number of retirement insurance applications submitted by telephone, in person through a local SSA field office, or by mail that could have been filed via the Internet because they met the criteria for applying online.

Field D:  Internet Social Security Retirement Insurance Applications, indicates the number of retirement insurance applications filed via the Internet.

Field E:  Percentage Filed via the Internet, Field D divided by Field C expressed as a percentage.  This is the percentage of Social Security Retirement Insurance Applications filed via the Internet.

Field F: Comments