Dive into our analysis of the September 2021 SSD benefits statistics report from the Social Security Administration (SSA). This monthly statistics report shows how disability pay and beneficiary numbers changed during the last 30 days. Those on disability can use these statistical snapshots to compare their monthly benefits against the national average. For this update, we reviewed reports from both federal programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
September 2021 SSD Benefits Statistics Report
Total Number of Social Security Disability Beneficiaries: 9,339,000
Disabled Workers: 7,982,000
Spouses of Disabled Workers: 99,000
Children of Disabled Workers: 1,258,000
Average Monthly Social Security Disability Benefit Amount: $1,152.70
Disabled Workers: $1,280.98
Spouses of Disabled Workers: $358.44
Children of Disabled Workers: $401.09
How the September 2021 SSD Benefits Statistics Report Affects Beneficiaries
Once again, the September 2021 SSD benefits statistics report shows major beneficiary losses across all categories. With 47,000 fewer total beneficiaries, this is the biggest single-month drop we’ve noted since July. Of those, 39,000 were disabled workers. Another 1,000 spousal beneficiaries dropped off this month’s rolls, falling below 100,000 for the first time in the program’s history. (For comparison’s sake, there were 221,195 spouses when the program began in January 1967.) In addition, September’s report showed 7,000 fewer children of disabled workers receiving SSD benefits compared to last month:
These reductions bring September’s total SSD beneficiaries around the same number as we noted in May 2010. And that’s despite the SSA approving more than 60,000 new applicants for SSD benefits, including:
- 44,019 disabled workers (23,562 men and 20,457 women)
- 2,173 spouses of disabled workers (233 husbands and 1,940 wives)
- 17,728 children of disabled workers
September 2021 SSD Benefits Statistics: Looking Deeper at the Monetary Stats
Just one group’s average monthly payments shrank during the past 30 days: Spousal beneficiaries. Otherwise, average benefit amounts for all categories increased just slightly month-over-month. The national average SSD payment increased $.33 since August. Disabled workers’ SSD benefits went up $.14 this month, while children’s payments increased $.55, on average. Spouses, however, took an average $.86 pay cut from August to September. The most likely explanation is that newly approved spousal beneficiaries have lower household incomes compared to existing SSD recipients, on average.
The good news is, if the SSA just approved your disability claim, you can expect higher monthly payments going forward. That’s because Congress just approved a 5.9% COLA, the largest disability pay increase in 40 years! This should net the average SSD recipient $76 more in benefits each month.
Below are the latest average SSD benefit amounts for people approved within the last 30 days:
- $1,470.86/month for disabled workers ($1,617.27/month for men, $1,302.22/month for women)
- $361.22/month for spouses of disabled workers ($344.70/month for husbands, and $363.20/month for wives)
- $417.83/month for children of disabled workers
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Data in the September 2021 Report
The latest SSI program data for seniors and disabled beneficiaries also appears in the September 2021 SSD benefits statistics report. Only seniors aged 65 and older gained more SSI beneficiaries during the last 30 days:
Total SSI beneficiaries: 7,773,000 (-19,000)
Children under 18 receiving SSI: 1,058,000 (-7,000)
SSI recipients aged 18-64: 4,427,000 (-16,000)
SSI recipients aged 65+: 2,287,000 (+3,000)
Here are the current average monthly SSI payments for each age category in September:
- $584.74/month is the average monthly benefit nationwide across all ages
- $687.28/month for children younger than 18
- $616.62/month for working-age beneficiaries (i.e., those aged 18-64)
- $475.71/month for seniors aged 65 and older who qualify based on age and poverty level
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
You’re nearly 3x more likely to get SSD benefits when a Social Security attorney files your application. People who qualify for legal assistance typically get a lump-sum payment of $10,000 as well as monthly SSD benefits. The SSA usually denies first-time claims from those who apply on their own without an attorney. That’s also why 4 in every 5 claimants who reach the appeals stage have legal representation.
Think you can’t afford a lawyer? Every attorney in our network offers contingency-based representation. That means if you don’t win benefits, then you pay $0 for legal assistance. And if you 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.