Our analysis of the July 2021 SSD benefits statistics report from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is now complete. This monthly statistical snapshot from the SSA shows how disability pay and beneficiary numbers changed during the last 30 days. People on disability can read these updates to compare their own payments against the national average and other valuable info. Below, we’ll review new statistics from both federal disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
July 2021 SSD Benefits Statistics Report
Total Number of Social Security Disability Beneficiaries: 9,420,000
Disabled Workers: 8,047,000
Spouses of Disabled Workers: 101,000
Children of Disabled Workers: 1,272,000
Average Monthly Social Security Disability Benefit Amount: $1,151.79
Disabled Workers: $1,280.62
Spouses of Disabled Workers: $358.98
Children of Disabled Workers: $399.95
How the July 2021 SSD Benefits Statistics Report Affects Beneficiaries
Once again, the total beneficiaries fell by more than 60,000 in a single month. What’s interesting is to note the changes across this 12-month period: There are now 343,000 fewer people getting SSD benefits. Spousal beneficiaries represent the smallest drop during this 30-day period, losing just 1,000 claimants. About 29,000 fewer disabled workers got benefits in July compared to June. Finally, the biggest change comes from the children of disabled workers category. That group lost 37,000 total SSD recipients between June’s report coming out and July:
However, these numbers are a bit misleading. They don’t tell the whole story since we’re leaving out all people the SSA just approved for benefits this month. During the last 30 days, the SSA approved a little more than 45,000 new people for SSD benefits:
- 45,417 disabled workers (24,348 men and 21,069 women)
- 2,077 spousal beneficiaries (261 husbands and 1,816 wives)
- 16,558 children of disabled workers (including 1,185 disabled kids)
- 1,515 disabled widows and widowers
So, is it easier to get SSD benefits from the government this year – or harder? On average, the SSA approved about 54,010 SSD claims per month in 2020. In 2021 (so far), the agency awarded benefits to just 49,128 people each month, on average. However, fewer people also applied for Social Security disability in the first half of 2021 than in 2020. SSA data shows nearly 79,000 more people applied in 2020 than in 2021 during the same period.
July 2021 SSD Benefits Statistics: Looking Deeper at the Monetary Stats
So, what does the July 2021 SSD benefits statistics report tell us about average monthly payments? Strangely enough, average payments nationwide went down for two beneficiary groups, but increased for two others. First, the good news: Monthly SSD payments for disabled workers increased $.20 in July, on average. Nationwide, the total SSD payment across all groups rose $2.50/month from June to July. However, average monthly payments for spousal beneficiaries and children of disabled workers fell between June and July. Husbands and wives lost just $.10 during this 30-day period:
Children, however, saw their average benefits fall $1.56 month-over-month. This likely indicates one of two things:
- Newly approved disabled-worker beneficiaries in June had fewer children that qualified for benefits, or
- Disabled workers newly approved for SSD benefits in July had lower average monthly paychecks before leaving their jobs.
Many people ask us how much money they’ll get in SSD benefits if the government approves their claims. In plain English, federal law calculates your SSD payment based on your average monthly paychecks earned during your working years. The amount the agency pays you each month has nothing to do with your health problems, diagnosis, or monthly bills. In most cases, your SSD payment should equal about 40% of your average monthly paychecks earned before you became disabled.
The SSA uses the exact same formula to calculate people’s regular Social Security payments once they retire. Congress created this formula for Social Security benefits because they aren’t supposed to replace your work paychecks. Instead, Congress assumes most people have other savings to live on in case they become disabled or eventually retire. These savings may include your 401(k), Roth IRA or pension funds, savings accounts, stock investments, inheritance, annuities, rental property, etc.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Data in the July 2021 Report
The July 2021 SSD benefits statistics report also lists SSI beneficiaries and average benefit amounts for specific age groups. Every SSI beneficiary group shrank during the 30-day period since June’s report came out:
Total SSI beneficiaries: 7,777,000 (-41,000)
Children under 18 receiving SSI: 1,061,000 (-14,000)
SSI recipients aged 18-64: 4,441,000 (-26,000)
SSI recipients aged 65+: 2,275,000 (-1,000)
So, how many new people did the SSA approve for SSI payments during the past month? Here’s how those numbers break down:
- 40,009 total SSI beneficiaries
- 6,739 seniors at least 65 years old, based on age and poverty level
- 33,270 blind or disabled working-age adults (i.e., those aged 18-64)
- 8,755 blind or disabled minor children
- 141 blind or disabled seniors aged 65+
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
You’re twice as likely to get disability benefits on your first try if a Social Security attorney files your application. Those who qualify for legal assistance through this website typically get a lump-sum payment of $10,000 plus monthly SSD benefits. If you apply on your own without legal assistance, you’re unlikely to win benefits until after you appeal in court. That typically takes anywhere from 18 months to three years, during which time you’ll have no income.
Attorneys always offer free, no-obligation phone consultations to people who qualify for legal assistance. This lets you get confidential legal advice without paying for it or leaving your house! We can connect you with a local, disability advocate who only works on contingency. That means if you don’t win, then you pay $0 for legal assistance. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.