Despite an increase in disability claims, the Social Security Administration is still expected to meet a 2013 target date to eliminate the agency’s claims backlog, the agency’s commissioner told Congress Tuesday.

At the end of last year the agency had a backlog of 1.4 million claims for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. And that number is expected to grow to 1.6 million by the end of this year.

Growth in the backlog is due to limited funding and an increase in disability claims, officials said. Disability claims are expected to grow by 300,000 this year over last year’s numbers. Already, the average wait time to get a hearing on a disability claim is 500 days.

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Nonetheless, the Social Security Administration is on track to eliminate the claims backlog by 2013, said Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue at a hearing of two House subcommittees. Meeting that goal relies on continued funding, he said.