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Study: End of unemployment benefits and SSDI claims not linked

Some commentators claim that workers across the country have been leaning on the Social Security disability insurance benefits program as some kind of proxy for unemployment when those benefits have been exhausted. Researchers at the Columbia Business School decided to look into that issue. Professors from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley participated in the recent research project.

The study says that it is a myth that workers turn to the Social Security Administration after their unemployment benefits have run out. The researchers say that 2 percent or less of all applications for SSDI benefits show any link to unemployment benefit issues.

The study authors say that the important findings debunk the idea that the loss of unemployment benefits leads to an increase in SSDI benefit applications, and may allow lawmakers to better focus their attention on strengthening the disability insurance trust fund before it runs into financial trouble. Analysts say that the disability trust fund is expected to start paying out more than it takes in sometime in 2016.

The lead author of the research, Professor Andreas Mueller says in a press release that, ““Contrary to the beliefs of many, even in policy circles, our research proves that the unemployed do not directly file for disability following the exhaustion of benefits.”

SSD lawyers know that the application process for these important benefits can be cumbersome. Showing a lack of a job is not the sole basis that the Social Security Administration looks for in a SSDI benefits petition. Medical evidence that meets the rules and definitions of a disabling condition, as well as other requirements are needed when seeking disability benefits through the federal program.

Source: Columbia Business School, “Study Reveals New Insight About Social Security Disability Benefits Amid Agency’s Influx of Problems," Feb. 10, 2014

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