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Workplaces get safer, but SSD claims still rise

Many people who live in New York City know how vital Social Security disability benefits are. These people have suffered a debilitating injury or illness that prevents them from working. Disability benefits provide them with the financial support they need to get by. Unfortunately, however, some people find ways to scam the system.

One Wall Street analyst believes that, in the midst of our stagnant economy, more people than ever are wrongly receiving disability benefits. Why does he think this? He says it's in the numbers.

First, workplaces seem to be getting safer every year. Two years ago, there were 3.5 work injuries or illness for every 100 people. In 1973, that number was 11 for every 100. Despite the increase in safety, the number of disability claims shot up in the last decade after more than two decades of no change. The analyst also pointed to a marked drop -- more than 10 percent -- in the percentage of the workforce made up of manual laborers in the last 40 years.

While he makes a valid point, some say he may not be looking at everything. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times pointed out the fact that office workers suffer from different types of injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, than those who work in higher-risk manual labor jobs. It also pointed to mental illness as a possible factor.

We all know that Social Security is in a tight spot right now. With quickly diminishing finances, hopefully those who truly need disability benefits will continue to get the financial support they depend on.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Disability claims rise even as work injuries decline," Walter Hamilton, Aug. 22, 2012

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