Most Common Disabilities in the United States

A serious, long-term disability is one of the most stressful situations that can affect families. When a person’s disability or injury renders them unable to work, families have to get by on less income. Even if a person qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits, that money hardly makes up for lost wages. And, unfortunately, this is a scenario millions of people in the United States encounter every year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 22 percent of people in the United States – or roughly 53 million people – have a disability. In Tennessee, 29 to 33 percent of the population has a disability. When a disability is caused by someone else’s actions – such as a negligent driver who causes a serious crash – families may be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury case.

If you believe you might have a personal injury case, or if you need help applying for SSD benefits, call the law office of John R. Colvin to request a free consultation: 1-931-962-1044.

Types of Disabilities

In August 2015, the CDC issued its report, “Key Findings: Prevalence of Disability and Disability Type among Adults, United States – 2013.” It asked people whether they had a disability that interfered with five daily living categories. Of the 22 percent who said they had a disability, this is the breakdown of how they responded:

  • Mobility (serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs) – 13 percent
  • Cognition (serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions) – 10.6 percent
  • Independent living (difficulty running errands unassisted) – 6.5 percent
  • Vision (blindness, or serious difficulty seeing, even with eyeglasses) – 4.6 percent
  • Self-care (difficulty dressing or bathing) – 3.6 percent.

Governmental and health organizations have another method of determining which disabilities are most prevalent and most serious: calculating disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). DALYs are “the total number of years lost to illness, disability, or premature death within a given population.”

The National Institute of Mental Health reports the following 10 categories of diseases and disorders that account for the greatest percentage of DALYs:

  1. Neuropsychiatric disorders (18.7 percent) – This broad category of disorders includes mental and behavioral disorders, which account for 13.6 percent of DALYs, and neurological disorders, which account for 5.1 percent of DALYs.
Mental and behavioral disorders include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Drug and alcohol use disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder

Neurological disorders include:

  1. Cardiovascular and circulatory diseases (16.8 percent) – This category includes coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries) and heart valve disease, which is when the valves of the heart don’t function properly. Diseases of the heart and circulatory system are the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  1. Neoplasms (15.1 percent) – A neoplasm is an abnormal mass of tissue, also called a tumor, which forms in the body because of cancer. The Social Security Administration recognizes 27 types of malignant neoplastic diseases (cancer), as disabilities, although a cancer diagnosis is not an automatic qualifier for benefits.
  1. Musculoskeletal disorders (11. 8 percent) – This category includes certain injuries, such as fractures, amputations, and burns. It also includes disorders of the spine, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and tendonitis.
  1. Diabetes, urogenital, blood, and endocrine diseases (8 percent) – In its listing of disabilities, the SSA refers to urogential diseases (such as chronic kidney disease) as genitourinary disorders. Endocrine diseases and disorders are those that impair the function of the body’s major glands, and blood diseases include sickle cell anemia and leukemia.
  1. Chronic respiratory diseases (6.5 percent) – Cystic fibrosis and asthma are two types of chronic respiratory diseases.
  1. Other non-communicable diseases (5.1 percent) – This category may include hereditary diseases.
  1. Unintentional injuries (3.6 percent)
  1. Self-harm and violence (3.1 percent)
  1. Transportation injuries (3 percent).

The most common disability cause varies greatly, depending on age. For example, cardiovascular and circulatory diseases are the fourth leading cause of disability for people aged 50 to 69, but are the leading cause of disability for people aged 80 and above. Non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of disability for children from birth to age 14, but are the sixth leading cause for people age 55-59

Help for Families Dealing with Disability

If you suffered a disabling injury or illness at work, in a car crash, or in some other manner, and you believe that another party’s negligence or carelessness caused your injury, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact John R. Colvin, online, or at 1-931-962-1044, to request your free, no-obligation consultation.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama