A newly minted report shows that Georgia residents are mirroring a nationwide trend of increased food stamp and Social Security disability benefits usage. The report, which examined 14 Georgia counties, released in April by the Georgia Department of Human Services, says that the number of people who were receiving supplemental nutrition benefits and disability payments has increased each month since July 2007. The two programs have grown by a total of 65 percent since fiscal year 2007. But that’s why the programs are in place: to help people who are struggling.
The number of receiving Social Security disability benefits has increased dramatically since 2010, according to program administrators. Nearly 2,000 more people received the benefits in Richmond County during 2011, which is an increase of about 25 percent. Additionally, Columbia County saw a 34 percent increase in fiscal 2011. McDuffie, Burke, Aiken and Edgefield counties also experienced a rise in disability claims.
Nationally, disability claims have increased by about 25 percent since 2010. Approximately 10 million Americans receive some form of disability benefit, with 307,000 of those residing in Georgia and about 200,000 living in South Carolina. Current numbers show that approximately 62,000 people have applied for disability benefits in Georgia so far this year.
Administrators have theorized that the rising disability rate is due to both the ever-aging baby boomer generation in combination with the sluggish economy. More adults are relying on disability benefits to help them through tough financial times, especially considering that their ailments have limited or completely destroyed their ability to work.
No information was provided about the nature of the disabilities that have been claimed.
Source: The Augusta Chronicle, “More Augusta area residents receiving food stamps, disability benefits,” LaTina Emerson, April 27, 2012.