Social Security Disability Lawsuits Reach Historic High in July 2020
The latest available data from the federal courts show that during July 2020 there were 2,500 new Social Security lawsuits filed in district court. Nearly all of the suits—more than 95 percent—sought review of the denial of disability as well as other benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. According to court information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, the number of new lawsuits is the highest recorded since TRAC's systematic tracking of litigation began in October 2007.
July's figures are up 10.0 percent over the previous month (June) when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 2,273. In May filings totaled just 1,675. Compared to a year ago, July filings were up 17.9 percent. The previous monthly high point was in August 2013 when new filings reach 2,008 cases—the only month prior to June and July of this year when lawsuits topped two thousand. See Table 1.
Table 1. Civil Filings
The long term trend in civil filings for these matters 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.
Figure 1. Civil Filings Over the Last Five Years(Click for larger image)
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
Relative to population, the volume of civil matters of this type filed in federal district courts during July 2020 was 7.6 per every million persons in the United States. One year ago the relative number of filings was 4.7. Understandably, given the many differences among communities in the country, there is great variation in the per capita number of civil filings in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
Table 2. Top Ten Districts (per one million people)