Last week, what we have been reporting for the last two years became more of a reality when the government said that unless Congress does something by late 2016, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) would run out of funding.
According to the Associated Press, Social Security Administration trustees said that unless something is done soon, the SSDI trust fund would run dry next year. They said that this would trigger an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits for recipients.
The report by the trustees called the funding issue an “urgent threat” that requires prompt action. They said one solution for funding would be shifting tax revenues from the SSA’s retirement fund to the SSDI program, a step that has been taken in the past. The AP reported that President Barack Obama supports the move. However, Republican leaders have said that they want to reduce “fraud” within the program and encourage disabled citizens to reenter the workforce.
Interestingly, as we reported last year, many people have a poor grasp of how much fraud actually takes place within the SSDI system, as the Social Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) only opened a little more than 8,000 investigations in 2014, even though it received more than 121,000 fraud reports from the public.
In reality, it is estimated by many organizations, including the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, that fraud constitutes less than 1 percent of SSDI paid benefits.
Keep in mind, a 19 percent cut in benefits would have a tremendous impact on SSDI recipients, as the average monthly benefit for disabled workers and their families is only $1,017. “It is vital that Congress move forward to maintain the integrity of this critical program sooner rather than later,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement, according to the AP.
We Are Here to Help You Fight for SSDI
It is our hope that Congress will do something to alleviate SSDI funding concerns. This is not a political issue that should be taken lightly, as many recipients depend dearly on SSDI benefits as their only source of income, living very modestly. We will keep you posted on any funding news that may arise.
Although this news is not positive, it should not dissuade you from applying for benefits if you are disabled. If you need help obtaining SSDI benefits, contact our Tulsa Social Security lawyers. We can review your case and help you determine your eligibility. Disability law is all we do.