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Last Updated: Sep 12, 2017 URL: http://libguides.gallaudet.edu/deaf_statistics Print Guide RSS Updates

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Deaf people and Social Security

For many years, there has been a great deal of speculation about government entitlements and the American population of individuals with hearing loss. Although such statistics are not clearly differentiated by the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program -- they use other categories, which can be seen here (PDF copy of SSI's 2015 Annual Statistical Report, page 71) -- the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Program does. The following table has been concatenated using information from pages 31 and 45 in the PDF version of SSDI's 2015 Annual Statistical Report.

Notes to consider while perusing the table below:

  • Since SSDI is primarily focused on aiding individuals who are unable to work -- either in a significant capacity, or indeed at all -- it is important to remember that the number of beneficiaries with hearing loss is not representative of the general deaf population. Depending on a large number of factors (detailed in the 2017 benefits update (PDF)), the majority of able-bodied deaf individuals may be considered ineligible.
  • As with the deaf employment page, these statistics do not account for individuals with additional disabilities. 
  • The deaf-related statistics are taken from a table (page 45, linked above) that includes statistical information about blind recipients of SSDI; it is important to note that the title of the table states that it is focused on recipients that receive benefits because of blindness or deafness; this suggests the possibility that deafblind recipients are included in one group or the other, but there does not appear to be any information on which group.
State Total disabled SSDI beneficiaries per state Total deaf SSDI beneficiaries per state Deaf beneficiaries as percentage (%) of total beneficiaries*
Alabama 264,264 1,837 0.7
Alaska 14,505 132 0.9
Arizona 172,382 1,652 1.0
Arkansas 158,086 989 0.6
California 807,945 6,999 0.9
Colorado 114,528 1,124 1.0
Connecticut 94,879 800 0.8
Delaware 30,631 240 0.8
District of Columbia 16,031 292 1.8
Florida 599,552 5,604 0.9
Georgia 313,442 2,334 0.7
Hawaii 26,846 230 0.9
Idaho 47,745 318 0.7
Illinois 340,098 2,766 0.8
Indiana 233,290 2,052 0.9
Iowa 89,746 730 0.8
Kansas 85,442 765 0.9
Kentucky 238,348 1,576 0.7
Louisiana 182,724 1,427 0.8
Maine 66,896 397 0.6
Maryland 143,284 1,582 1.1
Massachusetts 228,904 1,430 0.6
Michigan 401,225 2,765 0.7
Minnesota 143,174 1,337 0.9
Mississippi 152,822 1,131 0.7
Missouri 248,143 1,706 0.7
Montana 31,609 246 0.8
Nebraska 48,474 394 0.8
Nevada 66,798 541 0.8
New Hampshire 52,390 262 0.5
New Jersey 229,138 1,756 0.8
New Mexico 70,571 536 0.8
New York 601,407 4,411 0.7
North Carolina 371,862 2,662 0.7
North Dakota 16,839 110 0.7
Ohio 400,479 3,249 0.8
Oklahoma 143,281 1,018 0.7
Oregon 119,830 1,105 0.9
Pennsylvania 464,275 3,095 0.7
Puerto Rico 212,124 1,207 0.6
Rhode Island 42,000 267 0.6
South Carolina 201,108 1,324 0.7
South Dakota 22,140 199 0.9
Tennessee 284,243 1,961 0.7
Texas 644,583 6,015 0.9
Utah 53,406 600 1.1
Vermont 25,490 168 0.7
Virginia 240,741 1,673 0.7
Washington 196,272 1,606 0.8
West Virginia 111,618 672 0.6
Wisconsin 183,169 1,421 0.8
Wyoming 14,311 102 0.7
Total 10,088,739 79,063 0.8

* Rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.

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Prepared by James McCarthy
Instruction and Reference Librarian
March 2014

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