Harlan Still & Koch

Federal budget proposal would save SSD trust fund

A budget proposal currently being considered in Congress would avert a 20 percent cut in Social Security Disability benefits in 2016. But it may lead to cuts in the future, according to some observers.

As we had discussed in the past in this blog, the trust fund that backs the SSD program is set to run out of money sometime in 2016. If that happens, the government could only afford to pay about 80 percent of what beneficiaries are entitled to. For many disabled people and their families, suddenly losing 20 percent of their payments could lead to a serious financial strain.

What to do about this became a major part of the debate over the budget on Capitol Hill. According to The Hill, the draft budget bill released on Oct. 26 provides some things for lawmakers who want to clamp down on what they see as rampant fraud and inaccurate definitions of disability, and others who want to ease work requirements and other conditions for receiving SSDI.

Some critics charge that the proposal would lead to cuts in disability benefits. However, the deal appears to have some bipartisan support. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote in a statement that the deal “extends the solvency of Social Security Disability Insurance.”

It remains to be seen if this proposal will pass, and its implications for SSD no doubt require more detailed study. But it may be a relief for many SSDI beneficiaries that Congress is taking on this issue that means so much for their bottom line.

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