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Georgia SSD recipients may fare well in federal budget cuts

The impact of a trimmer federal budget may not hurt disabled Georgians who are unable to work as much as recipients of Social Security disability benefits in other places around the nation. New reports say the federal government already spends less per person in Georgia than in almost all other states.

U.S. Census Bureau figures say Georgia's Social Security, disability and pension recipients got 30 percent of the $83.9 billion in federal dollars spent on the state. Seventy percent of government support went to into unemployment and food stamp programs, tax credits, grants, student aid, and federal employees' paychecks.

The average American received nearly $10,400 in federal help in 2009. Georgians claimed much less -- under $8,540 per person. Some states' residents tipped the scales in the opposite direction. In three states, residents received an average of $20,000 in federal dollars.

Georgia's county-by-county breakdown showed that the population in the Atlanta area depended less on the federal government than other state residents. DeKalb County per capita federal spending was just under $6,700 in 2009. In Cobb County, each person's federal benefits were under $3,460.

As lawmakers zero in on reducing federal spending by $2 trillion in the next 10 years, Georgians may suffer less by the loss of federal help than other states. The director of the University of Georgia's Center for Economic Growth agrees that already frugal federal spending will help the state adjust to budget-trimming measures. He added that individuals dependent on government programs like Social Security disability still could feel the pinch, especially if cuts are abrupt instead of phased in over time. Hopefully Georgia residents who are dependent on their disability payments continue to get the support they need.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "In cuts, Georgia has less to lose," Russell Grantham, Aug. 20, 2011

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