Judges: Social Security pushes approval of claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several current and former judges say Social Security is pushing judges to approve disability benefits for people who may not deserve them in an effort to reduce a huge claims backlog.

Larry Butler, an administrative law judge from Fort Myers, Fla., called the system, “paying down the backlog.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating why many judges have high approval rates for claims that have already been rejected twice by field offices or state agencies.

The judges spoke at a committee hearing Thursday.

The number of people getting Social Security disability benefits has increased by 44 percent over the past decade. Social Security officials say the primary driver of the increase is a surge in baby boomers who are more prone to disability as they age.

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