From the AP – Social Security officials say they expect an even larger spike in new disability claims than they had predicted, as aging, injured baby boomers tumble out of the work force and need income.
Officials estimate they’ll receive 3.3 million new disability claims over the next year, up from their previous estimate of 3 million projected just five months ago.
The unprecedented wave of new applications raises questions about the agency’s ability to curb historic backlogs and cut processing delays, a problem that has plagued the agency for years. Officials had been making progress in reducing a massive backlog of disability appeals cases.
Also adding to the problem are recent moves in at least 10 states to furlough hundreds of employees who process initial benefit claims.
Agency officials say the extraordinary increase is driven by the recession and an aging baby boomer work force reaching their most injury-prone years. Long waits for the agency to process claims and resolve appeals can leave some claimants struggling to make ends meet.
Since October, the number of people waiting to have a claim processed has jumped a stunning 30 percent, from about 556,000 eight months ago to more than 736,000 in July.
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