On the first day the new Congress took office earlier this year (2015) Republican lawmakers passed a measure that stopped the routine transfer of money from the social security retirement trust fund to the disability trust fund. In the past, Congress routinely transferred revenues between the funds as the need arose. In the early 1980’s, for instance, revenues were transferred from the disability trust fund to help shore up the retirement trust fund, though in recent years the transfer has typically flowed from the retirement fund to the disability fund. As it now stands, the disability trust fund will be depleted by late 2016, meaning recipients could be facing monthly benefit reductions of around 20% unless a compromise is reached.
Following this rule change, Democrats in Congress accused the Republicans of trying to pit disability recipients and retirees against one another in what amounts to a political ploy. Republicans countered that Democrats are trying to kick the fiscal can down the road, and are demanding reform to the social security disability system before approving the transfer of funds. This is an unfortunate case of politics interfering with sound public policy, potentially placing benefits vital to millions of disabled Americans needlessly at risk. The good news is that the new rule passed by the Republicans leaves an escape hatch in place, which would allow for tens of billions of dollars to transfer if the effort at “reform” fails. The escape hatch provision should therefore keep current benefit levels in place for the near term while the political gamesmanship surrounding the disability trust fund plays out in Washington.
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Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call (800)492-3260.
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