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NM disability payments spike by nearly 66 percent

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The number of people in New Mexico receiving disability payments through the Social Security system has exceeded even the increasing national trend.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a review of data from the Social Security Administration showed that the number of former workers in New Mexico getting Social Security Disability Insurance grew by nearly 66 percent from 2002 to 2011.

During the same period, the growth nationally was nearly 55 percent.

According to the latest numbers, 60,803 New Mexicans were getting SSDI disabled worker benefits as of December 2011. Nationally, that figure was 8,575,544.

The national increase is variously attributed to demographics, economic factors, and the expansion of eligibility criteria in the 1980s, and there appears to be no clear consensus about the reason for the upswing.