What reforms are needed in the Social Security Disability Insurance program?
The recent Budget Act signed by President Obama was approved with bipartisan Congressional support. Leading into the negotiations, there were threats of another government shutdown if Congress refused to raise the debt ceiling while lawmakers argued over the numbers. During this process, many Social Security Disability benefits recipients were concerned over a proposal that would slash their benefits by the fourth quarter of 2016.
However, lawmakers created an 11th hour remedy by shifting payroll tax revenue from one Social Security Trust fund to finance the SSDI fund. While this maneuver will prevent some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens from falling into poverty, it is only a stop-gap measure. At the end of the day, the SSDI program still has problems.
Problems Plaguing the SSDI Fund
It was recently reported that the SSDI program has numerous problems and long-term funding has not been resolved. This is especially dire as more baby boomers are becoming disabled, putting a strain on the system. Not only is there a problem with funding. Long delays in claim approval are causing financial hardship for many people.
Currently, more than 10 million Americans are now on SSDI, and that number is expected to rise. The annual cost is staggering — about $141.7 billion in 2014. Even worse, the program has been losing money for at least the last decade.
Reforming the SSDI Program
Some proposed reforms include revamping the administrative law judge system. Because of high caseloads, hundreds of judges have been rubber-stamping approvals and “wrongful decisions” in the last 10 years have cost taxpayers at least $72 billion. The SSDI eligibility standards also need to be updated as they currently rely on data that is 30 years old. In any event, the recent budget deal was only a short-term fix, leaving the financial security of millions of disabled American hanging in the balance.
If you have become disabled and are unable to work, a qualified attorney can help you secure disability benefits.