For the last two years, we have been hearing a lot about how the Social Security disability fund will run out of money in late 2016 if nothing is done. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program comprise what people are talking about when they refer to Social Security disability. The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both the SSDI and SSI programs, and the benefits money comes from the agency’s disability fund.
In addition to the disability fund, there is also a Social Security retirement fund. That fund is used to pay for the Social Security retirement benefits people are generally referring to when they say someone is collecting Social Security. While SSA administers both funds, the money, which is collected in the form of tax withholdings, must be maintained in separate funds, because they are for separate purposes. However, until Congress passed a recent law, if the money was running low in one fund, it could easily borrow money from the other fund, so that there was no reduction in benefits. This is what has happened several times during the roughly 60 years the disability program has been in existence.
It would not be hard to fix this problem, because currently the Social Security retirement fund has enough money to fund that program until 2034. If one year of funding were transferred out of that program, there would be enough money for the retirement program to operate at full capacity until 2033, and the Social Security disability programs would have enough funding for at least the next 15 years. As our Boston Social Security disability attorneys can explain, the reason for this large discrepancy is because there are many more Americans collecting Social Security retirement benefits than Social Security disability benefits. Currently there are around 10 million Americans collecting Social Security disability benefits.
However, this reallocation of funds, which has worked so well in the past, is now more difficult to implement, since the GOP – in a party line vote – passed a regulation that this could not occur. On one hand, GOP presidential nominee hopefuls have been vowing not to fund the program unless significant changes are made, though they have not said what changes need to be made. On the other hand, the Democrats let by President Obama are urging GOP Congress members to allow funds to be reallocated to prevent 10 million Americans from having their monthly income cut by 19 percent.
According to a recent news article from Forbes, Congress is now considering a proposal to raise Social Security disability benefits. This is not an increase in the total budget to stop the cuts in late 2016, but a proposal to increase individual benefits, based upon increases in cost of living since the current level of benefits was set. While it certainly true that millions of disabled Americans could use more money each month to make ends meet, it will be interesting to see if this gets any traction, given the current issues with program funding.
If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Congress Considers New Proposal To Raise Social Security Benefits, September 2, 2015, Forbes, by Jamie Hopkins
More Blog Entries:
SSDI Approvals Lowest in Five Years, June 20, 2014, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyers Blog