Reforming Benefits an Important Issue for Republicans

Social Security reform is shaping up to be a key issue for the candidates hoping to secure the Republican presidential nomination for 2012. We posted last week about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s references to Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.” Perry also took aim at Social Security in his book “Fed Up!” Now it seems that other Republican candidates have taken aim at Perry, criticizing him for his harsh words and prodding him for more details on his ideas for reforming the system.

Another frontrunner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has other suggestions for reforming Social Security, including pushing back the retirement age and privatizing it. He has said that he would not be in favor of raising taxes to fix Social Security’s financial grounds. A Romney spokesperson said that Romney would like for the public to come to know Republicans as the party that saved and improved Social Security.

Perry appears to changing his strategy in response to reactions to his criticisms of Social Security. Last week, he wrote an article for the USA Today in which he said he would like to protect benefits for those currently in retirement, but he added that reforms would be necessary to keep Social Security viable down the line.

Politicians’ comments that we hear in the media about Social Security usually refer to the retirement benefits, which are a large portion of the benefits that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) pays out. But, the SSA runs a number of programs – including benefits for disabled or deceased workers – that comprise a significant portion of the SSA’s payouts. We would be interested in hearing the candidates’ thoughts on reforms they would propose for the disability benefits process.

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

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