In early December, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing to examine the financial situation of Social Security disability benefits. By 2018, Social Security does not expect to be able to pay out full Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits.
Opening remarks at the hearing came from Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat serving in the House of Representatives. Becerra’s comments highlighted a number of important facts and misconceptions about Social Security disability benefits. A few of his remarks were:
- Disability benefits protect nearly every working American and his or her family in the event that the worker suffers an early death or a severe disability
- Half of Social Security beneficiaries would be living in poverty if it were not for Social Security benefits
- Far from receiving disability benefits for free, SSDI beneficiaries already paid into the system through their years of work; overall Social Security has taken in $14.6 trillion over the years versus having paid out just $12 trillion
- Receiving disability benefits is not easy – approval requires extensive medical documentation and severe injury lasting over a year (Becerra also noted that many applicants are dying and/or unable to earn a living wage; disability benefits do not suddenly make things “easy” for them)
- Most people with an illness or disability do not receive SSDI benefits; about one in seven Americans die within a few years of their eligibility for disability benefits
- Rising numbers are to be expected, since there are more people in the workplace than ever today and more money than ever is coming in (as an example, Becerra cited women entering the workplace in the past 30-40 years; their finding work, becoming disabled and then receiving disability benefits is not a bad thing, but is how the system is supposed to work)
Are you a recipient of disability benefits? What does this financial support mean to you and your family?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers