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Social Security disability beneficiaries, expenditures increase: NCCI

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The number of Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries rose 58% and SSDI expenditures grew 138%, from $60 billion to $143 billion from 2001 to 2015, according to a report from the National Council on Compensation Insurance issued Monday.

The report looks at the interaction between SSDI and workers compensation benefits and explores cost shifting that may occur between the two programs.

Since 2010, the number of SSDI beneficiaries has been relatively stable, and spending growth has moderated, said Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI.

In cases where a person receives both workers comp permanent total disability benefits and SSDI, workers comp shoulders a greater portion of total benefits. The workers comp share of total benefits paid ranged from 68% to 90%, according to the report.

“Some observers have suggested that the long-term increase in SSDI claims and spending is a result of state legislatures lowering WC benefits to shift costs to SSDI,” NCCI said. “The study found that contention to be inaccurate. An analysis found that most states did not reduce WC benefits over the past 15 years, and in states where benefits changes did occur, those changes did not prompt more workers to file for SSDI.”