Average Age For SSDI Recipients Reaches 53, Allsup Reports

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Disability Insurance Awareness Month highlights value of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for U.S. workers; Allsup outlines important facts about SSDI program.

Allsup SSDI representatives work on behalf of the claimant to ensure a thorough, well-developed claim is provided to the SSA.

The average age for Social Security Disability Insurance recipients is now 53, having climbed upward from about 52 in previous years, according to Allsup, which has helped tens of thousands of people to receive their SSDI benefits. More than 152 million workers are insured* for SSDI benefits, with the largest age category of 50 to 54 having about 18.6 million workers insured.

The Social Security Administration, which administers the SSDI program, estimates that a 20-year-old worker has a three in 10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

“Along with private disability insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance provides critical support for people who experience a work-ending disability,” said David Bueltemann, manager of senior claimant representatives at Allsup. “The size and complexity of the SSDI program continues to grow as well, adding to the reasons people choose Allsup as their representative when seeking or appealing SSDI benefits.”

Why Apply For SSDI Benefits? Allsup SSDI Expert Explains

Following are facts about the program and reasons why individuals file a claim or disability appeal for SSDI benefits.

  • Taxpaying workers pay for insurance coverage through SSDI. About 152 million people are insured for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, and each month approximately 200,000 apply for benefits. A portion of workers’ paychecks—through FICA payroll taxes—fund this federally mandated disability insurance, Bueltemann explained. As with other insurance coverage, the program is designed to provide benefits to someone who has a legitimate claim for benefits.
  • Insured individuals can file SSDI claims. Workers who experience a severe disability that will last 12 months or longer, or have a terminal condition, may qualify for the program. There are a number of criteria required to qualify, including current insured status, medical documentation of a disability, and evidence of long-term inability to work. SSA examiners follow stringent program rules to determine who qualifies for benefits. “The process of filing and appealing a disability claim may require several phases of gathering and reviewing evidence, which is where an SSDI representative like Allsup can help,” Bueltemann said.
  • The SSDI program is an evidence-based insurance program. Individuals must have medical evidence to document their claims; support from their doctors and specialists is critical. The SSA reviews medical evidence to determine if the person qualifies for SSDI benefits. Without enough supportive evidence, the SSA may require a consultative or medical exam to obtain enough information to make a decision.
  • Those with private disability insurance also seek SSDI benefits. Private long-term disability policies typically are designed to integrate with the SSDI program. Receiving SSDI benefits could help protect individuals’ long-term disability coverage.
  • SSDI benefits are not the same as Social Security retirement benefits. Individuals in their late 50s and 60s who experience a disability may qualify for SSDI. Even those who are age 60 or 61 may not be capable of working until age 62, when they could seek early Social Security retirement benefits. In addition, SSDI provides a “freeze” that affects Social Security retirement benefits. The SSA does not count the years the person received SSDI benefits when calculating retirement income, which means those benefits may be higher because earnings are averaged over fewer years.
  • SSDI recipients depend on monthly income. A work-ending disability typically leads to significant financial problems because of lost income. The average monthly benefit for an SSDI recipient was about $1,130 in April 2013. Individuals who earned more during their working careers could receive more.

Millions of people are insured for SSDI benefits, but only a small fraction truly qualifies depending on their disability and work history. “We help thousands of people understand their options and whether or not they may qualify for disability insurance benefits,” Bueltemann said.

On average, only one in three applicants is approved for benefits at the initial application. Those who continue through the disability appeals process may encounter waits of one to two years to receive benefits. “Allsup SSDI representatives work to ensure that a thorough, well-developed claim is provided to the SSA,” Bueltemann explained.

Data from the SSDI program illustrates the difficulties in receiving benefits. At the hearing level, only 47 percent of people receive their benefits on their own. “In comparison, Allsup has a success rate of about 80 percent of customers we represent at the hearing level,” Bueltemann said.

Receive a free disability evaluation by calling the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276.


Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.


  • Social Security Administration, Disability Insured Workers, 1970-2012.

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