Crowe & Shanahan
Serving Clients Throughout Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois
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Is SSD really a form of unemployment?

If you ask anyone who has successfully obtained Social Security Disability benefits, they will likely tell you that it is definitely not like unemployment. The process of applying for benefits and then, if necessary, appealing the initial denial, waiting for a hearing, and eventually being approved is substantially more demanding and difficult.

A recent news article discusses the "disability belt" that stretches across some of the eastern part of the nation. One characteristic is that much of the area described is rural. As with the article that focused on the south earlier this month, this report found that many people in these areas have difficulty finding work. This leads many to believe that SSD is simply where these people turn when their unemployment benefits run out.

In reality, they often apply for SSD when they cannot remain employed due to injuries and medical conditions they have suffered. As many workers in these areas age, the toll of working in physically dangerous jobs catch up with them. They "want" to keep working, but old injuries, that perhaps were never treated properly, mean they can no longer lift heavy loads, stand all day, climb ladders or engage in other activities that require a great deal of physical exertion.

Similar to much of Missouri, where economic activity is concentrated in St. Louis and Kansas City, the younger, healthier population in Michigan has moved to the cities and those remaining in the rural areas are more likely to be older.

With fewer businesses operating in these areas, there is less work, further reducing the numbers of workers, while those injured or suffering poor health remain, because the cost of living may be lower.

The standards for disability are stringent, which means few who obtain benefits are ever capable of returning to any type of work, as they are simply too sick in most cases.

Support for this is demonstrated by one of the most sobering statistics provided by the SSA; within 5 years of obtaining benefits, 20 percent of men age 55 or older die, while for women, it's 14 percent.

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