# Blind and Disabled Recipients

Chart 1. Number who work, December 1987–2004

The number of blind and disabled recipients who work almost doubled between 1987 and 2004, from 173,000 to 328,000. Initially, the number of participants under sections 1619(a) and 1619(b) were approximately equal. However, participation under section 1619(b) gradually increased to five times the initial total, and it now exceeds participation under section 1619(a) by more than four to one. The number of working recipients not participating under either of these provisions has increased by more than 65 percent.

Show as table
Table equivalent for Chart 1. Number who work, December 1987–2004 (thousands)
Year 1619(a) 1619(b) Other
1987 14.56 15.63 142.66
1988 19.92 15.63 153.60
1989 25.66 18.25 161.93
1990 13.99 23.52 182.42
1991 15.53 27.26 186.82
1992 17.60 31.65 199.67
1993 20.03 35.30 210.32
1994 24.32 40.68 217.48
1995 28.06 47.00 223.57
1996 31.09 51.91 225.31
1997 34.67 57.09 228.09
1998 37.27 59.54 229.66
1999 25.53 69.27 245.83
2000 27.54 83.57 249.31
2001 22.10 76.46 247.56
2002 17.27 82.18 241.46
2003 17.13 71.10 235.45
2004 17.12 73.68 237.41

SOURCE: Tables 1 and 9.
Chart 2. Percentage who work, by state, December 2004

In 13 states, mostly in the South and Southeast, less than 5 percent of blind and disabled recipients were working in December 2004. The highest employment rates, 15 percent or more, were in the upper Midwest: Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

SOURCE: Table 2.
Table 1. Number and percentage who work, selected months, 1976–2004
Month All blind
and disabled
recipients a
Recipients who work
Total Receiving SSI b Section 1619(b)
participants
Total as a
percentage
of all blind
and disabled
recipients
December
1976 2,088,242 70,719 70,719 . . . 3.4
1977 2,186,771 83,697 83,697 . . . 3.8
1978 2,249,025 87,697 87,697 . . . 3.9
1979 2,277,859 92,270 92,270 . . . 4.1
1980 2,334,241 99,276 99,276 . . . 4.3
1981 2,340,785 102,632 102,632 . . . 4.4
1982 2,314,364 107,803 102,288 5,515 4.7
1983 2,391,262 113,899 108,734 5,165 4.8
1984 2,499,046 -- -- -- --
1985 2,633,552 -- -- -- --
1986 2,795,756 -- -- -- --
1987 2,945,244 172,855 157,223 15,632 5.9
1988 3,046,074 189,144 173,519 15,625 6.2
1989 3,172,270 205,837 187,583 18,254 6.5
1990 3,386,603 219,932 196,415 23,517 6.5
1991 3,681,050 229,619 202,355 27,264 6.2
1992 4,126,816 248,917 217,268 31,649 6.0
1993 4,544,777 265,649 230,350 35,299 5.8
1994 4,870,564 282,476 241,793 40,683 5.8
1995 5,115,014 298,635 251,633 47,002 5.8
1996 5,252,991 308,300 256,395 51,905 5.9
1997 5,189,724 319,855 262,766 57,089 6.2
1998 5,293,829 326,475 266,933 59,542 6.2
1999 5,317,861 340,618 271,353 69,265 6.4
2000 5,395,935 360,427 276,855 83,572 6.7
2001 5,500,481 346,110 269,655 76,455 6.3
2002 5,618,506 340,910 258,733 82,177 6.1
2003 5,740,683 323,682 252,585 71,097 5.6
2004 5,850,359 328,204 254,523 73,681 5.6
2002
March 5,538,532 339,430 266,835 72,595 6.1
June 5,573,711 342,946 265,597 77,349 6.2
September 5,620,838 348,244 265,871 82,373 6.2
December 5,618,506 340,910 258,733 82,177 6.1
2003
March 5,657,353 334,378 259,820 74,558 5.9
June 5,705,871 329,740 257,724 72,016 5.8
September 5,749,384 329,195 255,619 73,576 5.7
December 5,740,683 323,682 252,585 71,097 5.6
2004
March 5,796,837 321,030 251,498 69,532 5.5
June 5,834,265 323,624 250,726 72,898 5.5
September 5,869,004 328,831 253,174 75,657 5.6
December 5,850,359 328,204 254,523 73,681 5.6
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Extract Record format), 100 percent data.
NOTES: . . . = not applicable; -- = not available.
a. Includes section 1619(b) participants.
b. Includes section 1619(a) participants and SSI recipients earning less than the substantial gainful activity level (\$830 effective January 2005).
CONTACT: Clark Pickett (410) 965-9016 or ssi.workers@ssa.gov.
Table 2. Number and percentage who work, by state or other area, December 2004
State or area All blind
and disabled
recipients
Recipients
who work
Number Percentage
of all blind
and disabled
recipients
All areas 5,850,359 328,204 5.6
Alabama 144,687 3,850 2.7
Arizona 82,175 3,555 4.3
Arkansas 78,316 3,611 4.6
California 841,885 43,491 5.2
Connecticut 45,825 3,828 8.4
Delaware 12,405 834 6.7
District of Columbia 19,047 653 3.4
Florida 321,530 11,435 3.6
Georgia 173,247 7,010 4.0
Hawaii 15,944 799 5.0
Idaho 19,740 1,715 8.7
Illinois 227,977 13,370 5.9
Indiana 91,519 5,721 6.3
Iowa 40,343 6,614 16.4
Kansas 36,013 4,017 11.2
Kentucky 165,707 4,681 2.8
Louisiana 151,409 5,505 3.6
Maine 29,714 2,210 7.4
Maryland 78,638 5,689 7.2
Massachusetts 127,912 9,610 7.5
Michigan 205,330 13,992 6.8
Minnesota 63,030 9,679 15.4
Mississippi 109,624 3,081 2.8
Missouri 107,842 7,157 6.6
Montana 13,768 1,738 12.6
New Hampshire 12,465 1,257 10.1
New Jersey 118,456 7,594 6.4
New Mexico 43,619 2,110 4.8
New York 501,231 30,114 6.0
North Carolina 170,726 7,772 4.6
North Dakota 7,237 1,358 18.8
Ohio 233,052 16,741 7.2
Oklahoma 69,345 3,731 5.4
Oregon 52,222 3,885 7.4
Pennsylvania 288,759 15,083 5.2
Rhode Island 26,055 1,623 6.2
South Carolina 93,201 4,734 5.1
South Dakota 11,200 2,096 18.7
Tennessee 144,217 5,216 3.6
Texas 366,570 13,583 3.7
Utah 19,970 2,137 10.7
Vermont 12,074 1,183 9.8
Virginia 114,810 6,451 5.6
Washington 99,341 5,721 5.8
West Virginia 72,026 2,069 2.9
Wisconsin 83,813 10,167 12.1
Wyoming 5,428 763 14.1
Outlying area
Northern Mariana Islands 606 16 2.6
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Extract Record format), 100 percent data.
NOTE: Includes section 1619(b) participants.
CONTACT: Clark Pickett (410) 965-9016 or ssi.workers@ssa.gov.
Table 3. Percentage distribution of recipients and those who work aged 18–64, by diagnostic group, December 2004
Diagnostic group All blind
and disabled
recipients
Recipients
who work a
Total
Number 4,017,108 313,004
Percent 100.0 100.0
Congenital anomalies 0.6 1.3
Endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases 3.7 1.3
Infectious and parasitic diseases 1.7 1.0
Injuries 2.6 1.4
Mental disorders
Retardation 21.9 42.0
Schizophrenia 9.9 7.2
Other 25.3 16.3
Neoplasms 1.1 0.6
Diseases of the—
Blood and blood-forming organs 0.4 0.3
Circulatory system 4.5 1.2
Digestive system 0.9 0.3
Genitourinary system 1.0 0.6
Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue 9.9 3.3
Nervous system and sense organs b 7.8 8.8
Respiratory system 2.1 0.7
Skin and subcutaneous tissue 0.2 0.1
Other 0.2 0.3
Unknown 6.2 13.4
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Extract Record format), 100 percent data.
NOTE: Effective with the December 2002 edition, all recipients in each recipient category are included when computing percentages for each diagnostic category. Previously, only recipients with identified diagnoses were included in this computation.
a. Includes section 1619(b) participants.
b. Most disabled recipients classified as blind are included in this category. A few blind recipients with a primary impairment other than diseases of the eye are coded in other categories. Also, a few recipients are classified with diseases of the eye, but their impairment does not meet the definition of blindness.
CONTACT: Clark Pickett (410) 965-9016 or ssi.workers@ssa.gov.
Table 4. Number and percentage of recipients, those who work, and section 1619(b) participants aged 18–64, by age, December 2004
Age All blind and
disabled recipients a
Recipients who work Section 1619(b) participants
Number Percent Number Percentage
of all blind
and disabled
recipients
Number Percentage
of all blind
and disabled
recipients
Total 4,088,304 100.0 313,005 7.7 71,195 1.7
18–21 272,114 6.7 30,392 11.2 2,867 1.1
22–29 504,572 12.3 75,465 15.0 17,801 3.5
30–39 696,602 17.0 77,329 11.1 20,246 2.9
40–49 1,056,428 25.8 72,536 6.9 18,175 1.7
50–59 1,074,642 26.3 44,483 4.1 9,431 0.9
60–64 483,946 11.8 12,800 2.6 2,675 0.6
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Extract Record format), 100 percent data.
a. Includes section 1619(b) participants.
CONTACT: Clark Pickett (410) 965-9016 or ssi.workers@ssa.gov.
Table 5. Number in December 2003, by program status and earnings in December 2004
Program status
in December 2003
Total Receiving payments
in December 2004
Not receiving payments
in December 2004
Section
1619(a)
Have
earnings
No
earnings
Ineligible because of earned income Other
excess
income
Other
non-pay
Section
1619(b)
Reasons no longer eligible
Does
not need
or use
Medicaid
Can
pay for
equivalent
coverage
Both
All blind and disabled recipients 5,676,848 16,242 223,887 4,909,518 69,256 683 161 340 119,846 336,915
Receiving payments
Section 1619(a) 17,643 6,216 3,017 3,842 2,260 40 10 13 626 1,619
Have earnings 237,204 2,694 171,618 38,214 7,787 74 5 25 6,224 10,563
No earnings 5,350,729 5,294 44,669 4,856,578 17,591 198 32 92 107,121 319,154
Not receiving payments
Section 1619(b) 71,272 2,038 4,583 10,884 41,618 371 114 210 5,875 5,579
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Extract Record format), 100 percent data.
CONTACT: Clark Pickett (410) 965-9016 or ssi.workers@ssa.gov.