During a recession, the disabled are at the greatest risk
By Jim Allup | 01/07/10 12:00 AM PST
The worst recession in decades is a scary period for many American families. But it is a time of particular peril for
those living with work-limiting disabilities, especially in states such as California, where involuntary furloughs and
layoffs of state employees who process Social Security disability claims further bog down a system that is already
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system worked well for decades, but it is creaking under the
weight of a growing population of people with disabilities, increasing demands on the Social Security
Administration and a wave of government retirements. Social Security employees work as hard as they can to
help people who deserve care, but their best efforts are only slowly winnowing down a hearing backlog of nearly
723,000 disabled Americans—including 66,000 Californians—waiting months or years to receive their rightful
The recession is making things even worse. From 2004 through 2007, application levels were stable, with the SSA
processing between 2.1 million and 2.2 million SSDI applications each year. Last year, more than 2.7 million
people filed SSDI applications.
Furloughing state workers only adds to the misery. The Social Security Administration relies on state employees
to process disability claims, but provides full reimbursement for all expenses. So states are not saving any money
by forcing these employees to take time off. It just adds to California’s disability backlog.
Read the rest of the story at Capitol Weekly.