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How many SSDI recipients are injured at work?

A previous post here discussed some of the interactions between a couple of government programs designed to be safety nets for New Jersey workers in the economy who cannot work anymore due to an injury they incurred within the scope of their employment. These two programs are the Worker's Compensation program and Social Security Disability Insurance. Now that we have a basic idea of how these programs might be able to benefit employees who are hurt, let's see, in general, how often the SSDI program has to be used by such individuals.

In the 1990s, the Social Security Administration identified two comprehensive studies done on the population of workers that receive SSDI. These were called the Health and Retirement Study and the Survey of Income and Program Participation. These two surveys collected various data on certain demographics and how and why they received benefits such as SSDI.

As might be expected, these studies showed that older workers who received disability were more likely to report that they had been injured at work. For example, for people between 51 and 61 years of age, over 15 percent of adults in the SIPP, and about 17 percent in the HRS were disabled due to an accident or injury while on the job. For younger people, the SIPP found this number to drop to under 7 percent, presumably because they had been working for fewer years and had had less opportunity to be affected by injury. It should be noted that men were much more likely to be receiving Social Security Disability due to injuries suffered at work than women, possibly due to the proportion of men in the workforce in the 1990s, or the proportion in more physically dangerous professions.

Each number in the above paragraph represents numerous individuals and families who have had to go through the pain and uncertainty of a work injury and its consequences. For those who are now disabled and unable to continue to work, looking into the possibility of qualifying for SSDI under federal and New Jersey regulations may be a way to help diffuse some of the difficulties associated with their injuries.

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