Disability Applications Increase as Population Ages

Kim Paul Carter of St. Augustine thought he would easily qualify for Social Security disability after his second round of debilitating cancer cost him his carpentry job, his house and all of his savings. But Carter, 54, is still waiting a year and a half after applying and has hired a lawyer to appeal the decision.

“It’s pretty hard; it gets you depressed,” said Carter, who now is living in a camper on land his family owns behind his foreclosed house. His family members have to give him money for the gas he uses for the generator that supplies the electricity and he is often without phone service.

“It’s hard after working all your life … depending on everybody else,” Carter said. “You feel like a burden to them.”

Carter is one of millions of Americans waiting longer for disability benefits because the number applying for benefits has grown substantially in the last few years, as has the number of rejections.

“Baby boomers reaching their disability-prone years and the economic downturn have contributed to the increase in applications,” said Patti Patterson, Social Security Administration regional communications director.

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