Tens of thousands of Californians have come off the Social Security disability payroll and gone back to work, part of a national trend that reflects a surging U.S. economy, a shift toward less conventional work and tighter supervision of what qualifies a worker for disability benefits.
The number of adults in California collecting Social Security disability benefits fell by nearly 50,000, or 7%, from 2013 to 2017, with the biggest decline coming between 2016 and 2017, according to the latest federal statistics. The drop follows years of steep increases nationally and statewide as workers left the labor market amid a brutal recession and started drawing disability benefits.
In a similar vein, the unemployment rate among Californians, ages 18 to 64, who self-identify as having a disability dropped from 19.4% in 2009 to 12.8% in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, an annual review of more than 3 million U.S. households. A less comprehensive Census Bureau survey — the monthly Current Population Survey — indicates the trend continued in 2018.