October 2015, Congress passed legislation that allowed the Social Security Disability Trust Fund to draw from the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund. The last minute solution prevented the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program from becoming insolvent and reducing its benefits by 19 percent. However, the SSDI trust isn’t out of the woods yet.
Will the SSDI Trust Run Out of Money Soon?
It is estimated that 2023 will be the new insolvency date for SSDI. That means Social Security won’t be able to pay full disability benefits and all beneficiaries will be forced to take an 11 percent cut in their checks. Are there any solutions for this impending problem?
Solutions and Problems: How Can We Make SSDI Better?
Some analysts have suggested making it harder to qualify for benefits, but that solution doesn’t really hold water. Most applications for SSDI benefits are initially rejected, and have to face the appeals process. For those who make it through the process, it can take over a year for them to reach the finish line and get benefits. Increasing requirements will only result in an increased burden on people who are trying to get by after suffering a condition that prevents them from working.
Others say that millions of dollars are being lost to people who are defrauding the SSDI program. However, the Social Security Administration says that every year less than one percent of all Social Security disability claimants are discovered committing fraud. This is due to the extreme measures the Social Security Administration takes during the application process.
For now, one of the best answers to SSDI’s budgeting problems may lie in improving the application process, which can leave genuine claimants in a holding pattern for over a year. However, lawmakers must figure out a way to clear the backlog of current SSDI applicants who have been waiting on the benefits they need.
Lawmakers could also help solve many of SSDI’s budget problems by establishing more return to work programs. Many people who enter the SSDI system stay there permanently, but with training, and more accessible work environments, these people could become independent of SSDI. This could help more people find their way into the program and help keep the SSDI trust full.
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Brought to you by the Tulsa disability attorneys at Troutman & Troutman.