Surprising fact about Social Security disability total cost

There’s no doubt: Social Security is paying MORE in disability and retirement benefits. But, there is a surprising fact you DON’T know!

According to Social Security, 9 million disabled workers received disability benefits from Social Security in 2015. Another 2 million individuals received benefits as dependents of disabled workers. This is compared to 39 million receiving retirement benefits.

The average monthly disability benefits was $1,165. Although it should be noted, for those receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits, the maximum amount a SSI recipient could receive in 2015 was $733.

Total payout to disabled workers and dependents in 2015 was $12.5 billion.  However, this is only 15% of total benefits paid by Social Security.

Just some quick facts!

What you don’t know about how much Social Security spends

When I first wrote this post in 2007 (“look Ma, no gray hairs!”) the numbers were:

  • 6.9 million disabled workers
  • 1.8 million dependents
  • $979 was the average payout for SSDI & the SSI monthly maximum was $637.
  • $7.2 billion was the total amount paid for disabled and dependent benefits (so, not counting retirement benefits, etc.).
  • compared to 31 million receiving retirement benefits

Now, you might think, “OMG! That’s why SSA is going broke! MORE people on disability, MORE dependents, MORE benefits!” However, do you want to know the one factoid that’s gone done? This one.

However, this is only 15% of total benefits paid by Social Security.

In 2007, disability benefits were 17% of all the benefits paid out by Social Security. Disability benefits make a smaller section of the pie compared to retirement benefits in 2015 compared to 2007.