The Social Security disability fund is facing insolvency.
Applications for disability have risen nearly 50 percent over a decade ago due to the fact more people with disabilities are losing their jobs and can't find new ones.
"It's primarily economic desperation," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue told the Associated Press.
"People on the margins who get bad news in terms of a layoff and have no other place to go and they take a shot at disability," he added.
Many of the applicants have had to wait two years or more before their cases were resolved.
The disability fund is in worse shape than Social Security's retirement fund. The disability fund has been in the red for years, and new congressional estimates reveal it will run out of money by 2017.