Growth in New Disabled-Worker Entitlements, 1970–2008

by David Pattison and Hilary Waldron
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4, 2013
Table equivalent for Chart 1. Size of the working-age (16–64), disability-insured, and newly entitled disabled-worker populations, 1970–2008 and Chart 2. Number of workers newly entitled to Social Security DI benefits, 1970–2008 (third column of data only)
Year Working-age population Disability-insured population Newly entitled disabled workers
1970 137.43 75.86 0.35
1971 140.37 77.09 0.44
1972 143.45 78.34 0.43
1973 146.86 80.30 0.56
1974 149.56 82.63 0.56
1975 152.14 84.61 0.58
1976 154.65 86.18 0.57
1977 157.00 87.82 0.51
1978 159.24 90.98 0.44
1979 161.23 94.63 0.41
1980 163.42 97.67 0.40
1981 165.21 100.08 0.35
1982 166.77 102.10 0.34
1983 168.15 103.03 0.36
1984 169.57 104.39 0.41
1985 171.07 106.48 0.42
1986 172.62 108.60 0.43
1987 174.77 110.98 0.43
1988 177.54 113.49 0.45
1989 179.37 115.64 0.48
1990 181.09 117.56 0.58
1991 182.88 118.87 0.66
1992 184.66 119.78 0.67
1993 186.51 120.68 0.65
1994 188.41 121.92 0.64
1995 190.44 123.60 0.61
1996 192.61 125.44 0.63
1997 194.82 127.39 0.60
1998 197.09 129.55 0.62
1999 199.33 131.75 0.66
2000 201.59 133.89 0.70
2001 204.21 135.82 0.78
2002 206.51 137.09 0.84
2003 208.70 137.82 0.83
2004 210.90 138.51 0.84
2005 213.09 139.40 0.81
2006 215.48 140.55 0.80
2007 217.53 141.60 0.84
2008 219.36 142.32 0.90
SOURCE: Social Security administrative data.
Table equivalent for Chart 3. Percentage of CPS respondents self-reporting a health problem or disability that prevents or limits work, by age group, 2007 and 2011
Age group 2007 2011
18–24 2.4 3.2
25–30 3.6 4.0
31–35 4.1 4.8
36–40 5.2 5.0
41–45 6.8 6.9
46–50 9.4 9.0
51–55 12.4 13.0
56–60 15.0 15.0
61–64 18.6 18.6
SOURCE: Authors' tabulations using the 2007 and 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS).
Table equivalent for Chart 4. Cumulative growth in the number of newly entitled disabled workers compared with unadjusted growth in the working-age population (16–64), the number of disability-insured workers, and the disability incidence rate
Year Working-age population a Disability-insured workers a New disabled-worker entitlements Disability incidence rate a
1970 95.8 96.8 82.5 85.2
1971 97.9 98.4 102.6 104.2
1972 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
1973 102.4 102.5 129.7 126.5
1974 104.3 105.5 131.3 124.4
1975 106.1 108.0 135.1 125.1
1976 107.8 110.0 132.6 120.6
1977 109.4 112.1 117.8 105.1
1978 111.0 116.1 103.6 89.2
1979 112.4 120.8 95.8 79.3
1980 113.9 124.7 93.6 75.1
1981 115.2 127.7 81.0 63.4
1982 116.3 130.3 78.8 60.5
1983 117.2 131.5 83.5 63.5
1984 118.2 133.3 94.4 70.8
1985 119.3 135.9 98.7 72.6
1986 120.3 138.6 99.5 71.7
1987 121.8 141.7 100.7 71.1
1988 123.8 144.9 104.1 71.8
1989 125.0 147.6 111.0 75.2
1990 126.2 150.1 134.0 89.3
1991 127.5 151.7 153.3 101.0
1992 128.7 152.9 156.6 102.4
1993 130.0 154.0 152.3 98.9
1994 131.3 155.6 149.7 96.2
1995 132.8 157.8 142.2 90.1
1996 134.3 160.1 145.7 91.0
1997 135.8 162.6 138.7 85.3
1998 137.4 165.4 143.5 86.7
1999 139.0 168.2 154.7 92.0
2000 140.5 170.9 162.0 94.8
2001 142.4 173.4 182.7 105.4
2002 144.0 175.0 195.0 111.4
2003 145.5 175.9 192.4 109.4
2004 147.0 176.8 195.6 110.6
2005 148.6 177.9 188.9 106.1
2006 150.2 179.4 186.5 103.9
2007 151.6 180.8 194.6 107.6
2008 152.9 181.7 209.1 115.1
SOURCE: Social Security administrative data.
NOTE: The cumulative growth for the unadjusted components is set at 100 percent in 1972.
a. Unadjusted.
Table equivalent for Chart 5. Cumulative growth in the number of newly entitled disabled workers compared with age/sex-adjusted growth in the working-age population (16–64), the number of disability-insured workers, and the disability incidence rate
Year Working-age population a Disability-insured workers a New disabled-worker entitlements Disability incidence rate a
1970 97.1 97.7 82.5 84.5
1971 98.5 99.1 102.6 103.6
1972 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
1973 101.6 101.2 129.7 128.1
1974 103.0 102.1 131.3 128.5
1975 104.4 103.1 135.1 130.9
1976 105.7 104.0 132.6 127.6
1977 106.7 104.6 117.8 112.6
1978 107.7 105.7 103.6 98.0
1979 108.6 107.2 95.8 89.3
1980 109.7 109.0 93.6 85.9
1981 110.5 110.8 81.0 73.1
1982 111.3 112.8 78.8 69.8
1983 111.9 114.3 83.5 72.9
1984 112.5 116.0 94.4 81.3
1985 113.1 117.5 98.7 83.9
1986 113.6 119.1 99.5 83.5
1987 114.4 120.9 100.7 83.2
1988 115.8 123.0 104.1 84.5
1989 117.1 125.0 111.0 88.7
1990 118.6 127.4 134.0 105.0
1991 120.1 129.6 153.3 118.2
1992 122.0 132.1 156.6 118.5
1993 124.0 134.7 152.3 113.1
1994 126.2 137.6 149.7 108.8
1995 128.5 140.8 142.2 100.9
1996 131.1 144.5 145.7 100.7
1997 134.1 148.6 138.7 93.2
1998 137.3 153.2 143.5 93.6
1999 140.4 157.5 154.7 98.2
2000 143.5 162.0 162.0 99.9
2001 146.9 166.8 182.7 109.4
2002 150.3 171.3 195.0 113.7
2003 153.5 175.5 192.4 109.6
2004 156.7 179.6 195.6 108.8
2005 159.7 183.4 188.9 102.9
2006 162.8 187.1 186.5 99.5
2007 165.6 190.7 194.6 101.9
2008 168.2 193.6 209.1 107.9
SOURCE: Social Security administrative data.
a. Adjusted by age and sex.
Table equivalent for Chart 6. Size of the working-age population (16–64), by selected ages, 1970–2008
Year Age 45 Age 50 Age 55 Age 60
1970 2.806 2.818 2.474 2.184
1971 2.755 2.916 2.500 2.152
1972 2.756 2.806 2.511 2.296
1973 2.748 2.811 2.657 2.288
1974 2.645 2.889 2.625 2.449
1975 2.683 2.791 2.775 2.420
1976 2.528 2.743 2.872 2.432
1977 2.529 2.736 2.762 2.437
1978 2.438 2.726 2.759 2.570
1979 2.474 2.622 2.829 2.547
1980 2.535 2.667 2.731 2.678
1981 2.541 2.503 2.688 2.767
1982 2.573 2.509 2.681 2.676
1983 2.688 2.421 2.672 2.663
1984 2.700 2.463 2.577 2.740
1985 2.831 2.520 2.617 2.644
1986 2.904 2.526 2.458 2.601
1987 3.307 2.562 2.467 2.598
1988 3.388 2.684 2.386 2.593
1989 3.238 2.704 2.441 2.508
1990 3.254 2.838 2.500 2.555
1991 3.842 2.913 2.518 2.411
1992 4.341 3.314 2.557 2.419
1993 4.172 3.394 2.666 2.341
1994 4.178 3.244 2.683 2.396
1995 4.249 3.260 2.818 2.456
1996 4.387 3.835 2.891 2.467
1997 4.570 4.329 3.272 2.508
1998 4.611 4.159 3.342 2.604
1999 4.800 4.159 3.201 2.618
2000 4.886 4.223 3.213 2.753
2001 4.977 4.369 3.787 2.821
2002 5.052 4.551 4.274 3.191
2003 5.042 4.589 4.108 3.258
2004 5.085 4.783 4.102 3.119
2005 5.181 4.862 4.166 3.140
2006 5.133 4.955 4.313 3.702
2007 5.137 5.030 4.490 4.166
2008 5.035 5.018 4.533 4.007
SOURCE: Social Security administrative data.
Table equivalent for Chart 7. Proportion of the working-age population (16–64) insured for Social Security DI benefits, by age and sex, 1970–2008
Year Men, age— Women, age—
35 45 50 55 60 35 45 50 55 60
1970 81.18 74.12 69.38 68.68 65.63 29.89 35.18 37.58 39.03 38.06
1971 80.92 74.70 70.77 67.96 66.07 31.82 36.50 38.83 39.39 37.82
1972 81.00 75.12 70.11 67.96 65.35 32.70 37.10 39.01 39.01 36.95
1973 80.77 74.49 71.18 66.38 64.31 34.57 37.78 39.52 39.24 37.39
1974 80.10 74.60 70.86 65.59 62.82 35.65 39.54 38.68 39.32 37.11
1975 79.55 74.25 71.06 65.09 61.93 35.66 39.96 39.76 38.47 36.89
1976 80.06 76.28 71.20 65.98 61.18 37.16 41.20 39.79 39.39 35.98
1977 79.23 75.30 71.73 64.99 60.30 38.97 41.42 40.38 38.28 35.94
1978 79.68 75.74 70.69 66.16 59.41 40.89 43.55 40.85 39.41 35.93
1979 79.32 76.10 70.97 65.40 58.82 42.10 44.85 43.16 38.25 36.12
1980 77.78 75.91 70.02 66.33 58.57 45.37 44.95 44.21 39.65 34.82
1981 78.00 76.05 71.80 66.35 59.67 49.13 48.04 45.91 40.38 36.45
1982 78.38 75.64 71.37 67.52 59.49 52.52 49.45 46.89 41.58 36.81
1983 77.66 76.59 72.42 66.53 60.42 54.00 52.57 48.79 42.44 37.54
1984 77.82 75.37 72.79 66.88 60.31 56.14 53.03 50.07 44.33 37.20
1985 77.27 75.23 72.79 66.25 60.85 57.85 53.95 50.76 45.85 37.75
1986 79.19 75.40 72.56 67.68 60.97 59.92 55.52 53.12 47.38 39.00
1987 78.55 75.05 72.62 67.58 62.30 61.40 57.10 53.40 47.61 40.04
1988 78.41 75.05 72.60 68.14 60.99 62.38 58.42 56.07 49.25 40.62
1989 78.02 74.03 71.25 67.95 61.16 62.74 59.07 55.50 50.10 41.64
1990 77.04 72.84 71.52 67.79 60.52 63.69 58.96 56.52 50.82 42.97
1991 77.45 73.36 71.40 67.23 61.28 64.87 61.49 58.22 52.71 44.09
1992 78.03 73.58 71.24 67.60 61.67 65.19 63.08 59.26 52.45 44.11
1993 77.92 72.80 71.28 68.03 61.41 66.92 63.13 60.26 54.47 45.83
1994 78.65 72.30 70.67 66.94 61.37 66.68 63.97 60.43 54.09 45.68
1995 78.41 71.97 69.47 66.68 60.96 67.14 64.28 60.76 54.60 46.29
1996 78.85 74.07 70.57 67.00 60.84 68.12 65.54 62.69 56.40 47.61
1997 78.57 73.22 70.90 67.29 60.96 68.52 65.51 64.19 57.10 48.29
1998 79.15 74.29 70.23 67.95 61.87 68.45 66.16 63.75 58.27 49.70
1999 78.69 74.35 70.07 67.11 61.94 69.20 65.50 64.32 58.25 49.33
2000 78.50 74.25 69.93 66.36 61.41 69.74 66.42 64.99 58.23 50.00
2001 78.75 74.59 71.92 67.28 61.93 69.97 67.34 65.45 60.28 51.43
2002 78.39 75.19 71.36 67.74 62.61 69.95 67.31 66.08 62.38 52.72
2003 78.09 74.89 72.25 67.62 62.71 70.33 68.52 66.53 61.78 53.50
2004 78.38 75.51 72.21 67.24 61.97 71.07 68.08 65.89 62.22 53.91
2005 78.47 75.59 72.09 66.48 61.40 71.59 67.67 66.38 62.29 53.53
2006 77.74 75.57 71.98 68.26 62.02 71.22 68.55 66.85 62.60 55.05
2007 76.60 75.41 72.71 68.20 62.67 69.22 68.24 67.07 63.47 57.06
2008 76.03 75.47 72.15 68.39 62.18 69.50 67.97 67.33 63.15 56.50
SOURCE: Social Security administrative data.
Table equivalent for Chart 8. The changing distribution of the disability-insured population, by age and selected subperiods
Age 1971–1973 1989–1991 2007–2009
16 0.181 0.122 0.035
17 0.717 0.536 0.224
18 1.698 1.229 0.716
19 2.725 1.929 1.343
20 3.327 2.396 1.819
21 3.470 2.523 2.025
22 3.367 2.517 2.088
23 3.255 2.539 2.105
24 3.303 2.658 2.155
25 3.252 2.836 2.243
26 3.045 3.000 2.335
27 2.763 3.139 2.407
28 2.643 3.176 2.400
29 2.640 3.213 2.365
30 2.499 3.163 2.297
31 2.284 3.097 2.217
32 2.056 3.052 2.188
33 1.982 3.018 2.165
34 1.916 2.970 2.165
35 1.868 2.900 2.185
36 1.830 2.810 2.262
37 1.814 2.742 2.367
38 1.792 2.654 2.423
39 1.783 2.565 2.390
40 1.804 2.472 2.339
41 1.853 2.413 2.328
42 1.888 2.444 2.371
43 1.928 2.376 2.432
44 1.948 2.184 2.494
45 1.965 1.961 2.550
46 1.971 1.867 2.568
47 1.987 1.876 2.569
48 2.000 1.802 2.544
49 1.990 1.677 2.509
50 1.988 1.540 2.475
51 1.964 1.480 2.425
52 1.914 1.411 2.362
53 1.838 1.360 2.288
54 1.775 1.303 2.198
55 1.734 1.259 2.120
56 1.680 1.204 2.016
57 1.665 1.166 1.908
58 1.610 1.135 1.801
59 1.556 1.125 1.723
60 1.462 1.098 1.697
61 1.406 1.075 1.604
62 1.331 1.037 1.420
63 1.289 1.000 1.222
64 1.245 0.955 1.119
SOURCE: Social Security administrative data.