10,988,269: 2013 Closes With Record Number on Disability Getting Highest-Ever Monthly Benefits

By Terence P. Jeffrey | December 31, 2013 | 10:57 AM EST

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,988,269 in December, up from the previous record of 10,982,920 set in November, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration.

The average monthly benefit paid to a disabled worker also hit a record of $1,146.43 in December, up from a previous high of $1,130.34 in December of last year.

Spouses of disabled workers also got a record average monthly benefit of $308.13 in December, up from a previous high of $304.31 in August. Children of disabled workers also received a record average monthly benefit of $341.42 in December, up from a previous high of $337.13 in May.

As CNSNews.com reported earlier this month, the number of Americans getting disability benefits now exceeds the entire population of Greece, which is 10,772,967, according to the CIA World Factbook.

The record 10,988,269 total disability beneficiaries in December, included a record 8,942,584 disabled workers (up from 8,941,660 in November), 1,888,624 children of disabled workers, and 157,061 spouses of disabled workers.

When CNSNews.com reported on Dec. 3, 2013 that the number of people taking disability benefits had hit an all-time high as of November, it also incorrectly reported that November was the 202nd straight month that the number of disabled workers in the United States had increased. In fact, November was the 201st straight month that the number of disabled workers in the United States had increased.

The last time the number of disabled workers decreased on a month-to-month basis in the United States was between January and February of 1997, when disabled workers dropped from 4,385,374 to 4,357,251.

Beginning with March 1997, the number of disabled workers in the United States has now increased every month for 202 straight months.

A pamphlet available online from the Social Security Administration explains how the government determines the amount of a person’s disability payment and which members of their family can qualify for additional disability benefits.

“Your monthly disability benefit is based on your average lifetime earnings,” says the Social Security Administration document.

“Certain members of your family may qualify for benefits based on your work,” it says. “They include: Your spouse, if he or she is age 62 or older; your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled; your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be younger than age 18 or younger than 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time; and your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)”

“In some situations,” continues the SSA explanation, “a divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your benefit or any benefits due to your current spouse or children.”

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

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