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Social Security can be a lifeline for the disabled

Have you ever wondered why some areas seem to have more Social Security Disability recipients than others? It's not an illusion. Disabled people tend to "cluster" in certain areas due to numerous complex socio-economic factors and the way that the disability approval process itself works.

Nationally, about one out of every 25 people is disabled enough to qualify for Social Security programs. However, about one out of every 12 people in some northern Minnesota counties is considered disabled.

The rising increase in disability recipients in some areas and not others has largely to do with two factors: age and economic opportunity

Baby Boomers in this country are aging, and Generation X isn't far behind. It's no secret that age tends to bring more physical problems. Arthritis, asthma, heart conditions, back injuries, bad knees, carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetes are just some of the conditions that tend to develop with age or become more serious.

Economic opportunity comes into play because jobs that are suitable for older workers with health problems -- like desk jobs -- can grow rare in certain areas. In particular, if an area tends to rely on industrial work or factory jobs for the majority of its employment, it can be difficult for an aging worker to stay employed.

The older the individual, the less likely it is that they're going to have the capacity to easily pull up stakes and move somewhere where they can find a desk job. It's often not emotionally, physically or financially feasible for them.

When disability decisions are made, Social Security has an obligation to prove that the claimant's area has a sufficient number of jobs that they can actually do. That's difficult when the jobs that meet their physical limitations are scarce.

If you're struggling with a medical condition that is preventing you from returning to your previous occupation and cannot find another profession that you can manage given your limitations, it may be time to consider filing for Social Security Disability.

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