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SSD vs. OAP: Congress Tries to Separate the Disabled From the Retired

A recent article in the Chicago Sun Times sheds light on the efforts of the majority in the House of Representatives to eliminate the option of funding the Social Security Disability (SSD) program by reallocating money.

Reallocating funds from the Old Age Pension program to the SSD program is a time-honored tradition that deals with temporary bulges in demand for retirement or disability benefits. In fact, Congress has reallocated money between the two programs 11 times since the 1950s. However, the current House majority has had its sights on the SSD program for some time.

What did the opponents of SSD do? They instituted a rule that prohibits the reallocation of funds from one program to another unless the reallocation is part of an effort to restructure the entire Social Security program.

The disability program will pay out more money than it takes in by 2016. If Congress does not adjust the funding, SSD benefits will need to be cut by 19 percent.

The House majority is pitting older Americans who receive or will receive Old Age Pensions against disabled workers who receive or will receive SSD benefits. They are trying to separate the two programs, glossing over the fact that they are both part of Social Security and funded by FICA taxes. They also imply that while the OAP program provides well-earned benefits to retired workers, SSD beneficiaries have not earned those benefits. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

Like Social Security retirement benefits, SSD benefits are funded by workers who pay into the program with every paycheck. These benefits are not welfare and are never given to people who have not paid into the system, another fact glossed over by the House majority.

Unlike retirement benefits, disability benefits are essentially insurance. Not everyone receives SSD benefits, even though they pay. SSD is similar to home insurance or car insurance, which is only used if your house burns down or if you have an auto accident. You pay premiums against the possibility that this will happen. Similarly, you pay FICA taxes against the possibly that you might become disabled. It is pretty simple.

This update about the politics surrounding SSD benefits is brought to you by Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. If you have been denied SSD benefits, do what so many others have done: Get help with your appeal anywhere in the United States. Call them today to find out how they can help you.

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