By Elliott Andalman, Esq.
In the 2015 Annual Social Security Disability Report, the Trustees of the Fund reported that the Trust Fund for the Disability Program has an imminent shortage of reserves. Trustees predict that the Social Security Disability Trust Fund will run out of money in late 2016.
If Congress does not take immediate action, an estimated 11 million disabled Americans will see a 19% cut in their benefits next year. See New York Times article “Social Security Disability Benefits Face Cuts in 2016, Trustees Say.” Experts referenced in this article report that this shortage in the disability fund should not be a surprise as baby boomers are now in their 50s and 60s, and there is an increase in women in the labor force. Both of these trends predictably result in additional claims for disability benefits.
What Congress Can Do
There are two Social Security Trust Funds—one for the disability program and one for the retirement program. The two trust funds together have sufficient funds to pay full benefits for both programs until 2034. Therefore, the shortage in the disability trust fund can be easily remedied. Congress simply has to transfer funds from the larger retirement fund to cover the shortage in the disability trust fund.
Congress is able to authorize this shift of funds and has done so in the past several times. In fact, funds have been transferred from the Disability Fund to the Retirement Fund. As the New York Times article explained, this problem can also be easily remedied by combining the two Trust Funds. Either solution is easy and practical; and the results would provide full disability benefits for millions of disabled Americans in need of aid for the next 19 years.
There is concern that some in Congress do not want to address this problem. There is also concern that some in Congress may use this problem as leverage to obtain potential advantages on other issues.
Here at Andalman & Flynn, we believe that Congress should take immediate action to restore the Social Security Disability trust fund in order to avoid what would be a severe loss of income for disabled American workers. We urge you to contact your United States Senators and Congresspersons to take this action.
For More Information, Contact Us
If you are interested in learning more about the (Social Security Administration) SSA’s disability benefits program and how you may be impacted by potential changes in law, contact us. We have experience in all areas of disability law, including Social Security disability.