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Social Security disability claims spike in Georgia

Perhaps disabled workers in Georgia, who were attempting to solider through their ailments and continue working, are finding that due to the slow economy, their prospect for employment is plummeting.

The state, just like the rest of the country, has seen a spike in claims for Social Security disability. This trend dates back to 2008 when claims in Georgia were at 86,973. That total jumped up to 104,251 in 2009 and now stands at 119,946.

Many experts are pointing to the fact that the sluggish economy has limited the number of prospective jobs. This is even true for able-bodied individuals. Those with disabilities are seeing even less of a chance at getting a job because many employers do not want to take a chance on hiring them.

But for disabled people who continued to work and treated the service as simply a safety net, many of them are being laid off and now resorting to filing for disability benefits. Part of this trend comes with the fact that unemployment has been on the rise for the last three years.

Instead of continuing to work, constantly at risk of losing that job and having to look for a new one, some individuals are finding disability payments as more of a sure thing when it comes to stable income.

Part of the rising number of claims also has to do with an increasingly large aging population and more workers who are covered under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. In the 2010 fiscal year, $115 billion was paid out to disabled workers.

Those who study disability claims and the economy have noticed a direct correlation. When the economy dips, disability claims increase. Nationally, disability claims rocketed up from 2.6 million in 2008 to 3.16 million in 2011.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Disability claims surge," David Markiewicz, Oct. 29, 2011.

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