Disabled city: Number of Sacramentans taking disability payments hits new high

The Sacramento region now has 58,000 residents out of work and collecting social security worker disability payments - a figure that has risen 70 percent in the last decade.

The trend encompasses the blind, deaf, physically handicapped and others with injuries and conditions traditionally associated with the Social Security disability program. But it also includes scores of aging baby boomers with myriad physical ailments, a growing number of people diagnosed with debilitating stress or mental illness, and an increasing number of people who cite chronic back pain.

These residents aren't getting rich -- the average monthly disability payment is about $1,150.

Initiated in 1956, the federal Social Security disability insurance program provides benefits to those with an employment history who can show they are no longer able to work due to injury or illness. Most workers and their employers pay into the system through payroll taxes.

To qualify for disability funding, workers must prove that their disability will last for at least one year or is expected to result in death within a year.

Disabled workers are largely concentrated in low-income parts of Sacramento. This map shows the number of disabled workers per 100 adults between 35 and 65.


Sources: U.S. Social Security Administration | U.S. Census Bureau