Disability and Getting Older
In one of my prior posts, I gave mention to one of the books I'm currently reading, or, rather, scanning (The Squirrel book, also known as the The Ultimate Book of Useless Information).
Well, I'm actually scan-reading another book as well, this one titled "The Number". The purpose of this book, as far as I can tell, is to scare the daylights out of you so you'll cut back on ordering pay-per-view specials and put some of that money toward your retirement plan.
Here's a bit of information that I gleaned from the book this morning:
1. Among noninstitutionalized Americans older than 65, forty-one percent have some of disability.
2. Fifty percent of all individuals over the age of 65 will spend some amount of time in a nursing home.
3. Ten percent of all individuals over the age of 65 will spend more than 3 years time in a nursing home.
4. The cost of a nursing home can easily exceed one hundred thousand dollars per year.
I'll be honest, at the moment I don't know much about nursing homes and how insurance relates to the payment of nursing home-related costs, but reading statistics like this does manage to hammer home the point that disability is not (for those who are not currently disabled) simply a "concept". The truth is, disability, in one sense or another, will manage to catch up with many of us, who are, at the moment, quite healthy and strong.
In fact, given the demographics trends of the country (we are a graying nation and in 2030, 20 percent of the poplulation will be 65 or older), disability is likely to catch up with quite a few of us in coming years. And the likelihood of this happening to any one of us is simply a matter of statistics.
The older you get, the more likely it is that A. you will develop an illness that will result in functional limitations, B. you will suffer an injury of some kind that will result in functional limitations, or C. your body or mind will suffer functional limitations as a result of a natural degenerative process (degenerative disc disease is a good example).
Now, as far as eligibility for social security disability or SSI is concerned, whether or not an individual will be approved for disability benefits will depend on:
1. To what extent an individual is functionally limited.
2. How long the period of disability lasts.
Regarding the first item, an individual must be limited to the extent that they are A. incapable of doing their past work, and, B. based on their age, particular job skills, educational attainment (and residual functional capacity, of course), incapable of doing some type of "other work".
Regarding the second item, an individual must be found to be disabled for at least 12 months to qualify for disability. This 12 month duration can be met prior to the processing of a disability claim, during the processing of a disability claim, or can be projected to occur (i.e. the disability examiner or judge can review the medical evidence and determine whether or not the individual's state of disability will persist for the minium duration.
The information I cited at the beginning of this post, of course, is not strictly new. Throughout this year, and last, I've come across similar information regarding the odds of being impaired at certain ages.
However, statistics like this do illustate some of the inevitable fallout that occurs simply as a result of "being around for long enough". And, to me, it increasingly illustrates the importance of carrying some type of disability insurance. Because as I've pointed out many times before, the social security disability process can literally take years. And for individuals who are not yet in their fifties or sixties and have a history of sedentary work (desk bound), the road to getting social security disability benefits is uphill (and that's a clear understatement).
Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog
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Depression Social Security Disability
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Borderline Personality Disorder Disability