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3 things to do, in case the SSD trust runs dry in 2016

Time is running out to fix the Social Security Disability system’s financial problems. According to a trustees’ report discussed by USA TODAY, the SSD trust fund will run out of money in 2016. This could mean that people in Missouri who receive SSD or SSI benefits could see their payments reduced by 19 percent about a year from now.

Nobody should get the idea that people are living high off the hog thanks to SSD. This year, the average monthly payment was $1,165, with a maximum of $2,663. Take 19 percent out of these payments, and checks that help families affected by disability make ends meet may no longer be able to do so.

Fortunately, most experts do not expect this frightening scenario to happen. One consultant pointed out to USA TODAY that nearly 11 million people rely on SSD in this country, including 1.7 million children. The implication is that Congress cannot afford to simply do nothing about this problem.

While lawmakers debate exactly what to do, there are things that SSD recipients can do to prepare for the worst, just in case. First, try to set a household budget that would take into account 19 percent less SSD benefits coming in. If that is not possible, consider taking withdrawals from savings or investment accounts until full payments are restored.

Another option is to get a job, which may sound counterintuitive. But the Social Security Administration allows people receiving SSD to try to work for a trial period, to see if their condition has improved. After the trial period ends, recipients can continue to work while receiving SSD for up to 36 months, as long as SSA does not consider the work income to be “substantial.”

Of course, people get approved for SSD because they have become too ill or disabled to work, so this may not be possible for many recipients.

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