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Disability Claims Melt Up 44%

“The number of Americans getting some type of disability check from the federal government is soaring.
Since 2003, there’s been a 29% jump in Americans with little or no work experience getting disability payments, according to the Social Security Administration. Over the same time, there’s been a 44% increase in disability claims by people formerly in the workplace.

Disability claims among veterans are up 28% since 2008, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

All told, the federal government spent nearly $250 billion in 2011 paying more than 23 million Americans some type of disability claim. That’s about 7% of the overall population, and 16% of the workforce.

Those numbers don’t even include people out on worker compensation claims — which are mostly paid for by private companies. Five states also offer short term disability, and there are nearly 1 million workers receiving private disability insurance.

But the Social Security-administered program that pays disability claims will likely run out of money by 2016, forcing politicians to either cut Social Security benefits, raise taxes or, most likely, dip into general Social Security funds for the money.

There are many reasons for the increase in disability claims, most notably the recession, an aging population, advances in medical technology and a decade of war.

The recession: The economic downturn in 2008 and early 2009 is thought to be the major reason for the jump in disability payments to people who were formerly working….”

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