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Fixing the Social Security Disability Program

There have been many articles in the past year about how the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program will run out of money in late 2016. This does not mean the funding will run out entirely, but there will only be enough money to fund 80 percent of all benefits claims. In other words, if something isn’t done soon, anyone receiving a benefits award will have their check cut by around 20 percent. This is estimated to be around 10 million Americans who will be hurt if something isn’t done soon.

writing-a-check-2-701013-mIn the past, Congress would just allocate money from the Social Security old age and retirement fund and use it to fund the disability benefits fund. The reason this was possible is because the money withheld from your paycheck to pay for Social Security goes into two separate funds. While the United States Social Security Administration runs both funds, since they are designed for different purposes, the money must be used for its respective purpose. However, in the past, Congress could easily reallocate money.   Not only is this possible, it would be rather painless, since the retirement fund has full funding until the year 2034. If one year of funding was taken from the retirement fund, meaning it would only be funded until 2033, that would be enough money to fund the Social Security Disability Insurance program for the next dozen or so years.

As our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance benefits attorneys can explain, this has become more difficult, since the GOP was able to pass a bill as part of a large spending measure that makes it much more difficult for Congress to reallocate money from one fund to another. As of now, Democrats seem to want to fund the program, so millions of Americans are not left without benefits, and then work on addressing the problem later. On the other hand, Republicans claim they want big changes in the system before shifting any funding.

According to a recent article from Market Watch, a bipartisan committee recognizes the need to fund the program now to avoid fear and hardship and also work on fixing the problem.   While this sounds promising at first glance, upon further discussion, this think tank organization feels that it will be necessary to make some broad stroke changes to how the disability fund operates before committing any additional money.   This argument seems somewhat illogical, since the same agency noted the need to reach a short-term solution this year to set people’s minds at ease and knowing that it will very difficult to accomplish any type of bipartisan agreement prior to the end of this year.

More specifically, the group reports coming to the conclusion that there is no realistic reform that could be done to get the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund back to an appropriate level in the time left before the shortage goes into effect. However, it would be such bad PR for a presidential candidate to allow millions of disabled Americans to go without benefits that it is likely something will be done.

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

Additional Resources:

How to fix the Social Security Disability Insurance program, September 30, 2015, Market Watch, Jason J. Fitchner

More Blog Entries:

Social Security Disability Claims Process, Jan. 23, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog