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Social Security Disability and the Return to Work Act

As discussed in a recent news feature from Fox News, the United States Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is now a part of the Social Security Act that went into effect 81 years ago.  The act originally only created the Social Security payments to senior citizens under the program now known as the, “Old Age and Retirement” program.

1078874_word_work_on_the_dices-300x214After the initial success of this program, the Social Security Disability Insurance program was created as an amendment to the Social Security Act created 21 years prior.  This program required everyone who was working to have a percentage of their income withheld from their respective paychecks and that money deposited into the Social Security disability fund.

The money placed in the Social Security disability fund would be used to pay those who are awarded Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.  In addition to those who apply for SSDI benefits, there are also those who can apply for what is known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The SSI program is designed to help disabled children of low-income families.  While there is a strict income threshold that cannot be surpassed, there is obviously no requirement that the children have worked and paid into the system, to use the term favored by Boston Social Security disability lawyers and administrative law judges (ALJs) at the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The SSI program also helps the elderly who are disabled and the blind who need disability benefits, but have not worked at all, or if they have worked, not worked for enough years to have paid into the system.

While the program has helped millions of disabled Americans over the years (there are currently around 11 million beneficiaries), there is at least one major issued faced by the disability program.  That issue is that there is never enough money for the future, and there is always a fear that the program will run out of money.  One of the major reasons is because the program, like the Old Age and Retirement program, was started with a zero balance.  In other words, there was no money in the system to pay the first beneficiaries.

While it is true that they started collecting money from income tax right away, they did not have enough to pay benefits immediately, so they had to borrow money from the United States Treasury and run at a deficit.  This meant the program would eternally be at deficit unless they substantially increased the amount of money collected in tax, or got funding from the government on a permanent basis, but neither of these happened.  The only way to avoid this would have been to collect money immediately but not pay benefits for the first few decades, but that was not an option.

One solution that is being pushed by some members in Congress, as discussed in this article, is what is known as the Return to Work Act.  Similar to the Ticket to Work Program, this would allow people who are recovering from their respective disabilities to slowly return to the workforce without facing an immediate reduction or termination of their disability 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.

Additional Resources:

Sen. Cotton, Rep. Hill: The Social Security Disability Insurance Return to Work Act, September 15, 2016, By Sen. Tom Cotton, Fox News

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Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 22, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog