Social Security is now paying out more benefits more than it receives in contributions. According to Brianna Ehley of the Fiscal Times, the Social Security’s Disability Insurance (SSDI) fund is set to be fully depleted by 2016. Unless Congress finds a way to fund the program, every SSDI beneficiary could end up facing reduced benefits two years from now.
Brookings Institute Identifies a Feasible Solution
Amid the gloomy news, Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institute a think tank based on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. wrote an article that identifies the root of the problem and takes a look at what Congress can do to fix it before it’s too late. Aaron states that the main cause of the problem is that “No one is able to accurately identify who is disabled.” He then offers the following solution:
Quite simply, some people with any given set of measurable characteristics can work and some can’t. Of course, the incentives people face matter as well. But whatever definition of disability Congress writes into law, there will be some people who meet the standard and work and some who do not meet the standard and don’t work. Inevitably critics of the program will be able to point to slackers and malingerers who are awarded benefits and defenders of the program will be able to adduce heart-rending cases that are denied aid. The challenge for society is to choose a definition that best balances its willingness to award benefits to some people who do not ‘deserve’ them and to deny benefits to some who do. The challenge is also to design incentives that encourage work but are also compassionate.
How about reallocating how Social Security tax money is spent?
Reallocating how Social Security tax money is spent involves taking money for retirement benefits and using it for disability benefits, and is a solution suggested by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. Despite the solution’s viability, it remains to be a temporary fix that’s bound to cause a whole host of problems in the future.
Clearly, massive changes to the system are necessary to ensure SSDI benefits are disbursed in a fair, timely, and efficient manner. As social security lawyers know, the years claimants spend waiting for their benefits during the application process is suffering enough. Reduced benefits will only add to their suffering.
Ensuring Fair, Timely, and Efficient SSDI Benefits
To speed up the applications process and obtain the benefits due to him, the best thing an SSDI claimant can do is speak with an experienced social security attorney as early in the process as possible. These professionals are familiar with the system and know what it takes to make a suucesful disability claim.
(Source: With Disability Benefits Running on Fumes, What to Do?, Brookings Institution, October 28, 2014)