According to a recent news feature from Huffington Post, people seem indifferent about the recent budget deal designed to prevent 11 million beneficiaries from facing 20 percent cuts in their benefits, hire new administrative law judges (ALJs) and make some changes to how the system operates. Had this or some other deal not been reached, the 20 percent benefits reduction would have been imposed across the board starting in late 2016. There would also be an increase in Medicare Part B premiums of over 50 percent had a deal not been reached.
Advocacy groups involved in the process of creating the legislation were essentially strong-armed into supporting it, because failure to support such a deal would result in the needless suffering on millions of Americans for which they purport to speak. One of the things they did not like about the bill was that it ends one program used by nearly half the states to award disability benefits to applicants, in some cases where they did not have independent medical exams. They obviously see this as a loss.
One disability advocate quoted for the article compared the situation to a hostage negotiation in which the hostages where ultimately released. She went on to say whenever the hostage taker releases the hostages, there is a sense of relief, but it is not exactly a time to celebrate. She goes on to compare what they have to give up in order to get the money allocated to the budget as the ransom.
The news initiatives in the bill are aimed at reducing the amount of money needed to run the program by around $4 billion over the next ten years, while providing enough funding to fully pay for all benefits for the next three years. Obviously, this is a short-term solution, and we will likely find ourselves in same position in a couple of years, facing another budgetary cliff, as it was often called in the media.
It should be noted that just a few months ago, GOP hopefuls on the campaign trail vowed they would never approve a short-term budget reallocation without a major overhaul of the Social Security disability system, but it seems they have backed off on that pledge, much to the benefit of the millions of disabled Americans who rely on their monthly benefits check. One of the major overhauls GOP hopefuls were demanding was a reduction of benefits, but thankfully this was not part of the deal. Much of this desire to reduce benefits comes from a claim, not backed by actual data, which accuses the vast majority of disability benefits recipients of claiming benefits when they are not really disabled. Essentially, they are claiming there are millions of Americans who would rather sit at home and collect a check than go to work.
This argument could not be farther from the truth, and, as our Boston disability benefits attorneys see on a daily basis, the average disability benefits claimant would much rather be healthy and working if they could, but they are now reliant upon benefits to make ends meet.
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.
Obamacare Can Help Keep People Off Disability, October 23, 2015, Mother Jones, by Kevin Drum
More Blog Entries:
Rand Paul Says Many Receiving SSDI Benefits Gaming System, Jan. 27, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog