Debt Super Committee Takes Aim at Social Security Benefits

Social Security disability benefits and other programs that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) runs could see major changes in the next few months. These programs are one target of the so-called “super committee”,” the 12 member Congressional committee that President Obama tasked with coming up with ways to trim the federal budget over the next decade. Some sort of cuts or taxes is inevitable, given Obama’s comments that Democrats need to be flexible with Social Security.

One expert who tracks federal spending predicts that the committee will employ at least one of two ways to deal with the SSA’s financial problems – either increase the payroll tax that workers pay into the system, or cut the current level of benefits. Possible cuts include bumping up the retirement age for those receiving retirement benefits, or reducing the inflation adjustments that beneficiaries get from time to time. The super committee is bound to recommend changing something, since the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that, for all of this year, Social Security payments will make up a fifth of the federal budget.

If it is any solace to beneficiaries, you can probably expect the change to be small and maybe something that the SSA gradually phases in. This is because of the political sensitivity of cutting Social Security benefits. By and large, Americans strongly favor benefits, so it is hard to conceive of politicians making any drastic, immediate changes.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa SSI attorney

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