Many Individuals Continue Working Despite Disabilities

As the age of eligibility for full retirement benefits increases, many people with disabilities continue to work, despite their disabling conditions. In February 2015, disabled workers comprised 19.8% of the U.S. Labor force. (Source: Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy) Many disabled workers do everything they can to keep their jobs even in the face of serious injuries or illnesses.

Retirement Age is on the Rise

The age of retirement with full Social Security benefits used to be 65, and early retirement benefits, with a reduction of the full benefit amount, were available at age 62. Currently, the full Social Security benefit retirement age is 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954, and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

Over Ten Million People Receive Disability Benefits Despite Recent Decline in Numbers

For more than thirty years, the number of disabled individuals receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits increased exponentially. That number grew from 4,265,981 in 1990 to 6,673,362 in 2000. By December 2013, the number of people receiving disability benefits was at an all-time record high of 10,988,000. This dramatic increase has been attributed to the changing nature of the workforce during that time period, particularly the aging of the baby boomer generation which accounted for the largest increase in the number of workers in the last century.