Congressional opponents of Social Security Disability (SSD) have raised the alarm about financial problems with the trust fund that provides benefits to millions of American workers who are disabled and can no longer hold down a job. The allegations published by these opponents of the main safety net for disabled American workers attack both the recipients of benefits and the system that provides those benefits. They suggest that somehow the looming shortfall is a surprise and the result of fraud and malingering. They don't take into account the population bulge of workers in the Baby Boom generation who have not yet retired but can no longer work because of illness or injury.
As we age, it becomes much more difficult to compensate for musculoskeletal problems that we could have lived with 20 years before. As we age, we are more likely to develop serious illnesses such as cancer and stroke that are in part the result of a lifetime of living. This is happening to the great population of workers born between 1946 and 1960. However, the system has not kept up. It has been subjected to attacks and budget cuts that make it much more difficult for the Social Security Administration to do the job of providing disability benefits.
The financial crunch is not really a surprise, according to a spokesperson for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The last time Congress reallocated tax rates between SSD and the retirement system, the reallocation was supposed to be adequate through 2016. We are now close to 2016, and opponents of the system seem to be manufacturing alarm at the impending shortfall, rather than planning and preparing for needed changes ahead of time.
Unfortunately for those receiving SSD benefits, reallocating the two trust funds is no longer an uncontroversial way to adjust the balance between retirement benefits and disability benefits. It is now an opportunity for opponents of the social safety net to argue for reductions under the premise that the country can no longer afford to care for disabled workers at previous levels.
Whatever happens to the trust fund, obtaining Social Security Disability benefits will almost certainly become even more difficult than it is today, when only 34 percent of applicants are approved. Don't risk it. Do what many like you have done over the years: Contact Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and find out how they can help you get the benefits you need and deserve.
This is part 1 of a two-part blog post.
Source: NBC News, "Disabled Recipients of Social Security Fund Face Hefty Benefits Cut," Jun. 10, 2014.