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Funding Road Construction on the Backs of the Disabled

The Highway Transportation fund is broke because gas taxes have not been raised since 1993 — and cars today are more fuel-efficient and use less gas. Rather than raise the gas tax, some lawmakers want to take money away from the disabled. The proposal is just one more way in which the Social Security Disability benefits program is under attack and the disabled are at risk. money-choise-concept-1439274-m.jpg

Those who cannot work due to medical problems deserve to receive benefits to support themselves and their families. A Boston disability lawyer should be consulted to provide help for those applying for benefits or for individuals whose benefits claims are denied.

Limiting Disability and Unemployment Benefits

A multi-billion dollar emergency package is being put together to provide funding for transportation projects so there is not a nationwide shutdown of construction on roads and bridges. However, this package needs to be paid for somehow.

According to the Fiscal Times, one proposal involves ending “double-dipping.” The term, in this case, is used to refer to the practice of collecting money both from unemployment insurance and from Social Security Disability benefits programs.

There is no current law preventing a person who qualifies for both unemployment and disability benefits from collecting from both programs. In fact, workers pay Social Security Disability Insurance costs directly out of their payroll taxes and earn work credits, while employers pay for unemployment insurance as part of the cost of hiring workers. Since both types of benefits are paid for by each worker, it stands to reason that a person who qualifies for unemployment and for Social Security Disability should be able to get both types of benefits.

Unfortunately, “double dipping” has repeatedly come under attack as lawmakers look for funding to pay for other priorities. President Obama included a version of a law ending double-dipping in his 2014 fiscal year budget, while some Republicans have pushed for an amendment to the highway funding bill that would remove tax revenue increases and replace them with cutbacks in spending on disability and unemployment coverage that would come in part from ending double dipping.

There are an estimated 117,000 Americans who double-dipped during the height of the recent economic crisis. The Government Accountability Office has indicated that the total cost of this was around $856 million in fiscal year 2010. While this may seem like a lot, it is a very small amount in relation to the federal budget as a whole. Further, it was not very much money for each individual disabled person. In 2010, for example, the average “double-dipper” collected just $7,316. Only around 1,500 people obtained compensation that totaled more than $40,000 per year.

The plan to end double dipping involves considering the receipt of unemployment benefits as “substantial gainful activity.” As a result, anyone who received unemployment benefits over the course of a month would not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The plan could also result in people with serious disabilities facing further delays in getting benefits.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:
The Social Security Disability System Has Serious Problems, June 5, 2014, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer