Social Security Disability Budget Crisis Examined

For the past year or so, we have news article after article detailing the crisis facing the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) fund. According to the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB), full funding for the SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) budget will soon no longer be available and will result in a 20 percent budgetary shortage.

This is a major concern to the nearly 9 million Americans currently receiving Social Security disability benefits and the unknown number of Americans who will be applying for benefits in the near future or are already involved in the lengthy application process.

money-problems.jpgAccording to a recent piece, this will result in dollar-for-dollar reductions of almost 20 percent for those already receiving benefits.

In other words, if you receive a $1,000 monthly check in Social Security disability benefits, your check will be cut to approximately $800. This will understandably create a major hardship for those depending on Social Security disability benefits to make ends meet in Massachusetts and across the nation.

As the article points out, some Congress members are using this as an opportunity to claim most people receiving Social Security benefits are claiming they have a bad back so they can “get rich.” However, when you look at the actual numbers of benefits being paid, this is far from accurate. The average monthly award for Social Security disability benefits is around $1,500, and this is not making anyone rich. This is especially true when you consider you cannot work if you are on total disability. This is because the program was specifically set up to make sure people couldn’t make more from not working then they could from working.

As our Boston Social Security disability benefits attorneys know from experience, the vast majority of disability benefits recipients are truly disabled and desperately rely on these federal benefits to provide for themselves and their families. People do not choose to become disabled and suffer extreme pain and an inability to go to work. Most people would gladly choose to be disability free and go to work.

Another thing to consider is the system is set up in a way to deny most applicants who apply for benefits. This is evident by the fact nearly half of all applications are initially denied. At this point, claimants can submit their first appeal in writing, and the denied applications are sent for peer review. This means an employee at the same pay grade as the one who denied the initial application will form a review to see if their coworker made the right decision. As you can probably guess, almost no applications that have been initially denied are approved at this stage in the process.

After another round of appeals, you can request an appeal before an administrative law judge (ALJ). An ALJ is employed by United States Social Security Administration (SSA) and, unless you have an experienced attorney fighting for your rights, will likely also deny your request for benefits.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:
Is social security disability nearly broke?, March 10, 2015,
More Blog Entries:
Congress Ready to Fight Over SSDI Funding, Jan. 18, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog

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