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What states have the most Americans on disability?


In 2015, more than 10 million Americans between the ages 18 to 64 received a combined $11.4 billion in monthly disability benefits. While the average check amounts are similar, state-to-state numbers of participants vary significantly, ranging from 8 percent in West Virginia to 2.8 percent in Hawaii.

Nearly 8.9 million out of the 10.2 million recipients of the benefit suffer a disabling illness or injury. The remaining beneficiaries are minors and children of disabled workers, disabled adults dependent on their parents, disabled widows and widowers, and disabled spouses.

The findings of the study reveal a much larger concentration of insured people in southern states. Four states in particular show 8 percent or more of their residents receiving benefits.

Western states, including California, have fewer individuals receiving disability payments. Out of the 10 states, seven have the lowest shares of working-age residents collecting benefits.

The top five states by percentage that collect the most disability benefits are:

  • West Virginia – 8.9% or 100,254 state residents receive $210 million
  • Alabama – 8.4% or 251,532 state residents receive $291 million
  • Arkansas – 8.4% or 149,976 state residents receive $168 million
  • Kentucky – 8.1% or 223,240 state residents receive $256.1 million
  • Mississippi – 7.9% or 143,668 state residents receive $159.9 million

Five states with individuals collecting the least amount of disability benefits are:

  • North Dakota – 3.2% or 15,441 state residents receive $17.0 million
  • California – 3.1% or 760,162 state residents receive $923.0 million
  • Utah – 3% or 52,421 state residents receive $61.4 million
  • Alaska – 2.8% or 13,621 state residents receive $15.8 million
  • Hawaii – 2.8% or 24,694 state residents receive $30.1 million


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