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Social Security Faces Increasing Backlog

August 31, 2009

As baby boomers are growing older and the economy continues to reel from the impact of recession, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is facing a growing list of claimants seeking disability benefits.

In an interview with SSA Deputy Commissioner David Foster, the agency is receiving more applications for disability benefits due to high unemployment rate in the US.

Foster said they [SSA] expect that the number of backlogs will continue to rise in the next several years due to recession.

According to the latest SSA data, at least 1.5 million Americans are waiting for a decision that will determine if they are eligible to receive federal benefits.

In an effort to reduce the backlog, the SSA has resorted to teleconferences that will allow the agency to conduct hearings without requiring applicants to be physically present during the inquiry.

The Congress has also hired more than 7,000 SSA employees to speed up the application process.

However, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives which represents people seeking benefits, said the efforts of the federal government is undermined since many states are laying off local employees or have adopted hiring freeze as part of cost-cutting measures.

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