According to the Social Security Administration, disability claims rose almost 17 percent in fiscal year 2009 and are expected to rise another 10 percent in 2010 to over 3 million new claims, MSNBC reports. The news organization points to two sources for the rise in disability claims: the aging boomer population, and the limping economy.

“The average age of disability we see nationwide is 50, so the baby boomers have already reached their peak years of disability. That by itself has been driving up volume big-time over the past decade,” Jim Allsup, founder and CEO of Allsup Inc., a national disability representation firm, told MSNBC. “Then they just went into the stratosphere because of the recession.”

Michael Astrue, commissioner for the Social Security Administration, says boomers who have recently held jobs could be at a disadvantage when applying for benefits.

“Certainly you would expect that we would have a much lower allowance rate for people in that category with recent work history, where the problem may really be economic rather than medical,” he told the news organization.