8,853,614: Americans on Disability Hits Another Record; Exceeds 3x Population of Chicago

By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 4, 2013 | 12:41pm EDT

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(CNSNews.com) - The number of American workers collecting federal disability payments climbed to yet another record of 8,853,614 in March, up from 8,840,427 in February, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration.

That means there are more than 3 times as many Americans taking disability payments as there are people living in the city of Chicago, which according to the Census Bureau has a population of 2,707,120.

March was the 194th straight month that the number of American workers collecting federal disability payments increased. The last time the number of Americans collecting disability decreased was in January 1997. That month the number of workers taking disability dropped by 249 people—from 4,385,623 in December 1996 to 4,385,374 in January 1997.

As the overall number of Americans collecting disability has increased, the ratio of full-time workers to disability beneficiaries has decreased.

In December 1968, 1,295,428 Americans collected disability and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 65,630,000 worked full-time. Thus, there were about 51 Americans working full-time for each person collecting disability at that time. In January 1997, the last time the number of disability beneficiaries declined, 4,385,374 Americans collected disability and 104,900,000 worked full-time. Thus, there were then about 24 Americans working full-time for each person collecting disability.

In March 2013, with a record 8,853,614 Americans collecting disability and 115,841,000 working fulltime, there were only 13 Americans working full-time for each person collecting disability.

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