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Number of individuals receiving SSDI benefits increasing

Lately, Social Security Disability Insurance has been an issue flitting in and out of the news due to its growth in the number of recipients. The program was created to assist individuals that are unable to work due to an illness or condition that results in physical or mental limitations. SSDI benefits individuals in such a position by providing them a monthly income which will cover the cost of living.

Many people have raised questions about why numbers have surged so much recently, both in New Jersey and the country as a whole. There is a relatively straight forward answer to this question, and that answer is baby boomers. While there are more factors that contribute to the growing numbers, the fact that baby boomers are aging is a primary factor.

When SSDI can into existence 56 years ago, only 16.9 percent of the population fell between the ages of 45-60 years old. Presently, that figure has ballooned to 26.4 percent. This means that there is a larger chunk of our population in New Jersey and across the country that are susceptible to fragile health, making work an impossible option.

The picture of the work force has changed as well. At its inception, only 25 percent of women were eligible for SSDI benefits, but presently as more women have joined the work force over the years, 70 percent of women are eligible.

Nationally, 85,000 workers began receiving SSDI benefits in June. If an individual in New Jersey cannot work due to a disability, they may wish to seek an advocate to assist them in collecting medical evidence to obtain financial assistance.

Source: The Buffalo News, "Aging, not abuse of the system, accounts for increased use," Jeffery Freedman, Sept. 7, 2012

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