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Boston Disability Lawyers Analyze the Social Security 2013 Trustees Report

The Social Security Trustees just released the 2013 annual report.

Our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Attorneys know that this report is likely to get a great deal of attention from the media and both sides of the political aisle. Pundits and advocates from all sides will be attempting to bend the results to fit their own version of the truth, so it’s going to be important for those with disabling conditions to be able to cut through the hype.

First of all, one of the primary points of the report is that despite the extensive criticism that the Social Security Disability Insurance program has received for its recent growth, it has basically operated quite well for people with disabilities and their families. It has allowed them to stay afloat financially when they otherwise would have been unable to do so. In this way, the government has been able to significantly reduce the number of people living in poverty and reliant on other more extensive government support systems.

The report also shows that the Social Security System overall can continue to pay all benefits – including those for old age, survivors and disability – for at least the next 20 years. If modest adjustments were made, the report indicates, these benefits could be available for many more generations.

In fact, Social Security is going to be fully solvent until at least 2033. Last year, the agency raked in nearly $55 billion more than it paid out. The reserves are somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.7 trillion right now, and in the next eight years, it’s expected to expand to about $3 trillion.

If Congress did nothing at this point, we would have to start drawing from those reserves in several decades, while the revenue would cover about 77 percent of the overall benefits.

The one exception to this is the Disability Insurance trust fund. On its own, it’s fully solvent until 2016. After this point, the trust would be able to pay about 80 percent of its benefits.

If Congress were to reallocate funds between payroll taxes and the Social Security trust funds, it wouldn’t be an unprecedented move. This has been done to address anticipated shortfalls in the past. In fact, it’s been done almost a dozen times. The association’s chief actuary recently testified that a modest reallocation sometime in the next three years would allow the SSDI program to pay full benefits through 2033, without affecting the other programs.

This kind of a shift should not be controversial, as the report points out that studies consistently show that we as Americans believe the Social Security Disability Insurance system, and are willing to pay for it. Many even believe strongly in expanding it.

The report also points to the fact that we’ve long known that disability rolls were going to be on the rise at this point. Baby boomers are at their peak disability years, people are living longer with disabilities, there has been an overall growth in population and more women entered the workforce in the 1970s and 1980s. All of this has contributed to the increase. As has the fact that Social Security’s full retirement age was upped from 65 to 66. That means people are being paid disability for longer periods before they are ultimately switched over to retirement benefits.

What’s important to note is that this increase isn’t expected to continue unabated. In fact, it’s already beginning to level off as more baby boomers retire.

If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:
The Social Security 2013 Trustees Report Is Out… But What Does It Mean for People With Disabilities? Eight Things You Need to Know, June 3, 2013, By Donna Meltzer, Consortium for citizens with Disabilities & National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

More Blog Entries:
Boston SSDI Claims to be Affected by Changes in DSM-5, Part 3, May 30, 2013, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog