More than 10 million Americans received disability benefits in 2015. These benefits, paid mostly to disabled workers, totalled $11.4 billion per month.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of each state’s population receiving disability insurance using data released annually by the Social Security Administration. While the size of the average disability check tends to be roughly the same in every state, the shares of states’ populations relying on these benefits varies a great deal.
> Residents collecting disability benefits: 4.9%
> Total beneficiaries: 597,108 (3rd highest)
> Total monthly benefits received: $716.7 million (24th highest)
> Labor force participation rate: 60.0% (10th lowest)
> June unemployment rate: 4.1% (tied–24th highest)
Nationwide, 4.7% of Americans 18 to 64 years old are on disability. Across states, the percentage ranges from more than 8% in West Virginia, Alabama, and several other Southern states to less than 3% in Alaska and Hawaii.
Approximately 8.9 million of the 10.2 million beneficiaries nationwide are disabled workers. The remaining recipients include 1.6 million minors and children of disabled workers, 1.1 million disabled adults dependent on their parents, 260,000 disabled widows and widowers, and 142,000 spouses.
Predictably, the states with the most people collecting disability insurance also tend to have larger numbers of disabled people. The share of a state’s population reporting a disability is also always far larger than the share receiving the benefits.