Rise in Social Security Civil Filings

Number Latest Month 1,757
Number FY 2013 19,939
Percent Change from 1 year ago 14.0%
Percent Change from 5 years ago 63.7%

Table 1. Social Security Civil Filings

The latest available data from the federal courts show that during September 2013 the government reported 1,757 new filings classified by the court system under the category "Social Security." According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), there have been a total of 19,939 such filings during all of fiscal year 2013.

The comparisons of the number of civil filings are based on case-by-case court records which were compiled and analyzed by TRAC (see Table 1).

When monthly 2013 civil filings of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, their number was up 14.0 percent. Civil filings for September 2013 are higher than they were for the same period five years ago. Overall, the data show that civil filings of this type are up 63.7 percent from levels reported in September 2008.

Bar and line plot of fymon

Figure 1. Social Security Civil Filings over the Last 5 Years

The long term trend in Social Security civil filings going back five years is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of civil filings of this type recorded each month. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. One-year and five-year change comparisons are based upon the moving averages.

Rankings: Nature of Suit

Court filings are also classified based upon the specific nature of the suit. Table 2 shows the top nature of suit categories recorded for Social Security lawsuits filed during September 2013

Nature of Suit Count Rank 1 yr ago 5 yrs ago
SSID Title XVI 940 1 1 1
DIWC/DIWW (405(g)) 745 2 2 2
RSI (405(g)) 62 3 3 3
HIA (1395ff) 10 4 4 4

Table 2. Top Nature of Suit Categories

Social Security SSID Title XVI lawsuits filed in district court make up the largest component of social security lawsuits; Title XVI of the Social Security Act provides for disability as well as other benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. As TRAC previously reported, not only is this the largest component but it is the component that has grown most rapidly over the last five years.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

Relative to population, the volume of civil matters of this type filed in federal district courts during September 2013 was 5.7 per every million persons in the United States. One year ago the relative number of filings was 4.8. Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of civil filings in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago
Okla, E 32.8 24 1 16 5
Okla, N 30.8 31 2 20 3
Wash, E 27.2 40 3 4 4
Ark, W 17.8 23 4 1 1
Oregon 15.9 61 5 25 14
Wash, W 15.4 80 6 17 20
Vermont 14.5 9 7 36 29
Ken, E 13.4 29 8 38 2
N. Y., W 13.3 37 9 3 18
W Virg, S 13.0 12 10 44 11

Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per One Million People)

  • The Eastern District of Oklahoma — with 32.8 Social Security civil filings as compared with 5.7 such filings per one million people in the United States — was the most active through September 2013.

  • The Northern District of Oklahoma ranked second.

  • The Eastern District of Washington now ranks third. The Eastern District of Washington was ranked fourth a year ago as well as five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of these civil filings compared to one year ago — 287.5 percent — was the Northern District of Oklahoma. Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 199.7 percent — was Vermont.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of civil filings — 32.4 percent — was the Western District of Arkansas. But over the past five years, the Eastern District of Kentucky showed the largest drop — 10.0 percent.

Each month, TRAC offers a free report focused on one area of civil litigation in the U.S. district courts. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports by district, office, nature of suit or federal jurisdiction via the TRAC Data Interpreter.

Report Date: October 24, 2013
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Copyright 2013, TRAC Reports, Inc.