Dec 17, 2009

MSNBC On Claims Surge

According to the Social Security Administration, which runs the two main federal disability programs, new claims for disability benefits rose nearly 17 percent nationwide in fiscal year 2009, to 3 million. Disability filings are projected to rise another 10 percent in fiscal 2010, to 3.3 million new claims ...

Michael Astrue, commissioner of the Social Security Administration, understands the frustration of ... [those] who help disability applicants navigate the system.

“If I were in their shoes, I’d be concerned too,” Astrue said, acknowledging that his organization doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to processing claims in a speedy and efficient manner. In some parts of the country, disability applicants can wait years before they get a final decision.

“Where we’re having the biggest problems are states that have a combination of two things: One, the economy is very bad; and two, the state has embraced furloughs," Astrue said. "California, Wisconsin, Ohio are three of the states where we’re really struggling now.”

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