With changes in Congress we are seeing following this past election, it is hard to watch the national news or use the internet without hearing about what the next big fight will be. One of the issues that must be decided soon is what will happen to the Social Security Disability budget.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is essentially a government-run insurance policy. Employees and their employers pay taxes into the Social Security fund. Some of that money is used to pay for SSDI. Much of it is used to pay for Social Security retirement insurance. The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) runs both programs.
As our Social Security disability benefits lawyers in Boston understand, if Congress does not allocate additional funding to SSDI benefits, there will be a 20 percent cut, which can harm 9 million Americans receiving benefits, 2 million of their children, and nearly 200,000 spouses of disabled beneficiaries. There will also likely be an effect on the millions of Americans who are still applying for SSDI benefits or will be applying in the near feature.
According to a recent news article from Forbes, disability advocates had been confident Congress would temporarily fix the problem by moving funds from the Social Security retirement program (currently well-funded) to SSDI funding. This has happened numerous times during the past 50 years, and the program has been spared the fate it now faces.
However, the United States House of Representatives has just moved to prevent such a reallocation in funds to the SSDI budget. This was done through implantation of new procedural rules preventing any shifting in funds unless the shift is accompanied by a plan to stabilize the entire Social Security budget, including retirement benefits. This new rules package was approved with a party-line vote.
It should be noted this is not final, as House rules can be waived or even ignored, and this routinely happens, but, as the author of this article notes, it does suggest congressional leaders want to use this as an opportunity to make a major overhaul in the Social Security program.
One of the major reasons SSDI is facing a budget deficiency is because the portion of payroll taxes being allocated to disability benefits has not kept up with the rising costs to run the program. This funding discrepancy has been exacerbated by the increase in number of Americans receiving Social Security benefits as the population ages.
While it is not entirely clear how this will affect current and future applicants, it is likely there will be a reduction in the number of claimants whose applications are approved.
One of the best things you can do if you are considering applying for SSDI benefits in Massachusetts is to speak with an attorney who regularly handles these types of cases as early in the process as possible. Having someone on your side who is familiar with the system will greatly increase your chances of receiving an award of benefits. If the budget shortage is allowed to happen, it will obviously be better to already have benefits than be trapped in the long application process.
If you need help getting Social Security benefits in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Williams v. Colvin: Determining the Date of Disability for the Purpose of SSDI, August 10, 2014, Boston Disability Lawyers Blog