|Analysts Blame Under-Education And Poverty|
WV Has Least Number College Grads In USA
By Bob Weaver
West Virginia has the highest rate of people receiving Social Security Disability.
In addition, the benefits received from the federal government were more generous compared to most states, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The report says almost 21% of recipients received monthly benefits of at least $1,600, a higher percentage than all but three states.
The Wall Street Journal says like most states on the list, West Virginia is among the less-educated states in the country with just 18.5% of the adult population having a bachelor's degree, the lowest percentage of all states.
Just 54.1% of residents were considered part of the labor force in 2011, by far the lowest percentage of any state in the nation.
The number of Americans receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) more-than doubled over the past two decades, from 5.2 million to 11.7 million by the end of 2011.
In West Virginia, close to one in every 10 people aged 18 to 64 was receiving SSDI benefits from the federal government.
Two main reasons are driving the increase explains The National Association of Social Security Claimants' Representatives. First, baby boomers are entering years in which they are more prone to disability.
Second, women who began to work in greater numbers in the 1970s and 1980s are also now eligible for disability through Social Security for the first time.
Tad DeHaven, budget analyst at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, explained that the recession played a major role in the growth in disability claims. "When you see unemployment rates rising, you see disability moving with it," he said.
States with the highest disability claims tend to have the highest poverty rates and the fewest jobs.
Seven of the 10 states with the most residents receiving disability, including West Virginia, have among the highest poverty rates in the country with fewer higher paying job opportunities.
See related story WEST VIRGINIA HAS HIGHEST NUMBER RECEIVING DISABILITY BENEFITS - Calhoun Among Highest In Nation Receiving Social Security