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Increase in numbers receiving Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability is something which Michigan workers do not expect to need unless they are seriously injured at work. However, these benefits have become a necessary source of income for many people.

Around $425 million is paid to roughly 385,000 people in Michigan each month in Social Security Disability benefits. This is a number which has increased recently, earning 17 counties in northern Michigan a place in the country’s Disability Belt. Part of this increase is due to high disability and poverty rates, reaching as high as 20 percent in some counties. One attorney says that more people may be turning to disability benefits when they cannot find steady employment. In some places, these disability benefits resemble early retirement.

One of the reasons more people are turning to Social Security Disability is the kind of jobs which are available. Some jobs are temporary, outdoor positions, and many of these people have health problems which can keep them from performing work with physical requirements. Additionally, fewer jobs are available, and these jobs sometimes have lower incomes. Some people feel that this reliance on disability benefits is ultimately harmful, though. One economist says that receiving the monthly disability check encourages people to remain jobless; recent medical advances may provide a way back into the workforce for people with chronic and debilitating conditions. This economist says that the Social Security Administration often overlooks these measures.

When people realize they are unable to work because of an illness or physical condition, they may consider looking into Social Security Disability benefits. Because the process can sometimes be difficult to navigate, some people may want to work with a lawyer to understand the validity of their claim.

Source: Bridge, “Northern Michigan’s ‘Disability Belt’ now rivals the Deep South and Appalachia,” Chad Selweski, April 11, 2017

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