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More Politics Over Fate of Social Security Disability Program

With the presidential election drawing closer, Republican candidates have ramped up their number of comments about what do to fix the program. While the candidates appear resolute in their vows not to fund the program in the near future, Congress recently passed a resolution making it more difficult to shift funds from the Social Security retirement fund to the Social Security disability fund.

crack-graphic-1371406-mA recent news feature in the Huffington Post looks at how the Republican Party will have to do “something” with respect to the impending budgetary crisis involving the disability program, even though they may not yet have a clear approach.   One member of Congress featured in this article is Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Wisconsin.

Ryan is currently chairing the House Ways and Means Committee. As our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) attorneys can explain, it is the Congressional committee in the House of Representatives that is responsible for oversight of the Social Security Administration (SSA).   The SSA is the federal agency that oversees the SSDI program.   While Ryan has been on board with decisions to make it harder to fix the problem by simply shifting funds, as had been done in the past, he has said that his priority is to stop a 20 percent cut. In his words “No 20 percent cut. Full stop. Not gonna happen.”

It should be noted that the Social Security retirement fund and Social Security disability funds are both administered by SSA. They are both funded by with holdings from employee paychecks in the form of Social Security tax with holdings. For the first $118,000 in income for a worker’s annual wage, which for most people is more than he or she will make in any give year, taxes are withheld to pay for the SSA run programs. However the money is separately earmarked for the disability fund and the retirement fund. The money must be kept separate, since the programs have different purposes.

In the past, when one program was running out of money and the other was fully funded, Congress would simply shift money from one program to the other. Currently, the disability program will run out of money late next year, but the Social Security retirement program is fully funded to around the year 2030. If funding for a single year of operation was taken from the retirement program and put into the disability fund, it would fund the disability program for more than ten years with only a single year reduction to the retirement program. This is what Congress has said they are unwilling to do.

However, if they do not find funding for the disability program, there will be millions of Americans facing a roughly 20 percent reduction in their weekly benefits checks regardless of whether Ryan says that will never happen. One of the plans being proposed is to fund the program with a plan in place to reduce benefits over time. While this will help those who are going to suffer cuts next year, and thus increase the chances current voters will be happy, it will not help those who will still need benefits in the future.

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.

Additional Resources:
The Social Security Disability Program’s In Trouble And Republicans Will Do… Something, July 9, 2015, Huffington Post

More Blog Entries:
Rand Paul Says Many Receiving SSDI Benefits Gaming System, Jan. 27, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog