What Are the Top 10 Disabilities?

There are more than 5.7 million people in Colorado living with a disability, including 1.2 million children. Nationwide, about 13.4% of the population is disabled. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs that offer disability benefits. Disability benefits may also be available through workers’ compensation, Veterans Affairs (VA), and private insurance. 

In 2022, close to 11 million disabled adults and dependents were receiving benefits through the SSDI program. That’s 5.4% of the adult population between 18 and 64. About 388,000 workers on SSDI applied for workers’ compensation or public disability benefits, including 4,587 workers and their dependents in Colorado. Around 7.5 million people receive SSI benefits, with an average payment of $622 per month. 

Here are the ten most common disabilities in Colorado and the U.S. based on the SSDI Annual Statistical Report.

1. Musculoskeletal Disorders

A musculoskeletal disorder affects the muscles, joints, connective tissues, and/or bones. The Social Security Administration (SSA) includes congenital deformities and acquired injuries such as amputation under this disability category. 

Common disabling musculoskeletal conditions include: 

  • Degenerative disc disease or ruptured discs
  • Amputation
  • Non-healing and complex fractures
  • Third-degree and fourth-degree burns
  • Scoliosis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Chronic back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Osteoarthritis (OA)

Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common cause of disability overall and the leading cause of work-related disability. 30.1% of SSDI disabilities and 65.6% of workplace injuries involve musculoskeletal conditions.

2. Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Similar Conditions

Depressive mental health disorders include: 

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder, type I and type II
  • Persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia
  • Cyclothymic disorder

These conditions affect 9.5% of the U.S. adult population in any given year. Some people have disabling treatment-resistant depression, and it frequently co-occurs with other serious conditions. 

12% of SSDI beneficiaries have one of these depressive disorders. It’s the second leading cause of workers’ compensation claims among women and third among men. 

3. Disorders of the Nervous System and Sense Organs

Sense organ diseases or disorders and nervous system conditions are the third most common cause of disability. This includes disorders of the ears, eyes, skin, nose, or tongue. Nervous system-related disabilities may be degenerative, structural, functional, or caused by infection. 

The most common nervous system and sense organ disorders are: 

  • Neuralgia, a nerve pain condition
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss

10.1% of SSDI beneficiaries receive benefits for a disease or disorder of a sense organ or the nervous system.

4. Intellectual Disorders

Nearly 9% of SSDI beneficiaries have an intellectual disorder such as: 

  • Down syndrome
  • Fragile X Syndrome (FXS)
  • Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

An intellectual disability is defined as below-average life skills and intelligence. The SSA does not include neurocognitive and neurodevelopmental disorders or autism spectrum disorders. Only disorders that manifest before 22 and cause major deficits in practical, conceptual, and social life skills qualify for benefits.

5. Cardiovascular Disorders

Cardiovascular or circulatory diseases include: 

  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Arrhythmia or dysrhythmia
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

These disorders affect the arteries and veins, which deliver oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to tissue while removing waste in the blood. 6.7% of people receiving SSDI are disabled by circulatory disease.

6. Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and psychotic depression. These psychotic disorders account for 4.7% of SSDI disabilities.

7. Other Mental Disorders (Not Psychotic or Depressive)

About 4.5% of SSDI disabilities are mental disorders aside from psychotic and depressive conditions. 

This may include: 

  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Somatic symptom disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa

The SSA does not include autism or any developmental, neurocognitive, or intellectual disorders under this category.

8. Disabling Injuries

About 3.4% of SSDI disabilities are injuries, but it’s the second most common disabling condition for men filing for workers’ compensation. 6.3% of workers’ compensation claims in 2022 were prompted by injury. 

Serious injuries that may cause disability include: 

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Amputation
  • Serious burns
  • Complex, non-healing, and multiple fractures

Most disabling injuries are due to car accidents, falls, workplace accidents, and sports- or recreation-related accidents.

9. Neoplasms or Tumors

Disabling tumors are usually malignant, or cancerous tumors that grow out of control. Benign tumors like brain tumors may also be a disabling condition. 

Types of neoplasms that may be disabling include: 

  • Mesothelioma
  • Melanoma
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Eye cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Sarcoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic cancer

3.1% of SSDI disabilities are related to neoplasms compared to 1.3% of workers’ compensation claims. These workers’ comp claims are often related to exposure to toxic chemicals on the job. Workers most likely to be exposed to toxins include construction and trades workers, welders, transportation workers, and HVAC technicians.

10. Neurocognitive Disorders

A neurocognitive disorder (dementia) results in a substantial decline in cognitive function. Major neurocognitive disorder (MND), formerly dementia, is the broad term for these conditions, which affect motor control, visual processing, memory, mental function, and more. 

70% of MND cases are Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia and Lewy body disease are other common forms of dementia. Some people develop dementia caused by another condition. Examples include a brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or a brain tumor. 

Dementia is responsible for 3% of SSDI disabilities.

Call a Lakewood Personal Injury Lawyer If You’ve Been Disabled or Injured

Life-changing accidents are a major cause of disability in Colorado. If you have suffered a disabling injury on the job or due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer can help you explore your options for recovering compensation. You may not be limited to workers’ compensation and SSDI or SSI.

Contact Our Lakewood Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in Lakewood, CO, and need legal help, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Matos Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Matos Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakewood Office
550 S Wadsworth Blvd, Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80226
(720) 912-7274
Hours: Open 24/7