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Some unemployed turn to disability after benefits run out

As unemployment benefits run out for many Ohio residents, some of those workers are attempting to receive new benefits to supplement their income. Social Security disability is available to some of them because they are considered disabled. Others are attempting to apply for the government benefits despite their health.

Experts believe that some of these people are discouraged and simply need a source of income. With an average unemployment period of 10 months, it is no wonder that many are discouraged, but the program could be drained of funds for disabled citizens who really need it.

Since 2007, the number of government disability applicants in Ohio and the nation has spiked. Ohio's application numbers peaked in 2010 at 144,500, which was 23 percent higher than in 2007. That number was slightly lower in 2011 at 135,947. Across the nation, the number of applicants peaked in 2009 at 2.82 million. The Social Security Administration said that number was 30 percent higher than the amount from two years prior.

In a recent report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors, a direct connection was shown between the increase in disability benefits and the loss of unemployment payments.

Another report indicated that as application numbers rose, so did the number of denials. This may provide support for the claim that many able-bodied workers are applying for benefits despite their healthy condition. Even though acceptance rates have declined, more applicants are being approved than ever before.

The increase in Social Security payments has caused much stress for the disability insurance trust fund. Experts estimate that the trust will run dry by 2018 if nothing is done to increase its funds.

Source: Middletown Journal, "Jobless Ohioans try for disability," Randy Tucker, Jan. 3, 2012

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