Without Congressional action, the Social Security Disability Insurance fund will dry up in three years, resulting in benefit cuts for nearly 11 million Americans. The insolvency of the SSDI trust fund would probably cause disability benefits to be cut by about 20 percent. The consequences could be severe for many who depend on SSDI; they’d be able to buy less food and medicine and fewer of the other daily necessities. But as 2016 approaches, the suggested cures for SSDI’s ills are whipping up a wider controversy about entitlement programs in general. Observers see the SSDI debate as a preliminary round in the fight over shoring up all combined Social Security funds; without Congressional action, those funds will be exhausted by 2033.
Almost 11 million Americans receive SSDI benefits. Disabled workers receive an average of just over $1,100 per month. Some want to rescind the 1984 reforms that expanded the disabilities covered by SSDI; others support bolstering SSDI but differ about how to do that effectively. Some simply want Congress to make Social Security solvent for the long term. Others believe Social Security could remain solvent until 2033 if a larger percentage of Social Security’s payroll tax went to its disability fund and a lesser percentage went to the retirement fund.
Should Congress fail to act, and should the SSDI trust fund shrink to zero, benefits would be paid from current Social Security taxes, likely meaning a benefits reduction. If legislators wait until the last minute, they’ll eventually be left with only draconian options like slashing benefits or heftily boosting Social Security taxes. In the interim, if you have become disabled and are unable to work for any reason, hiring a good disability lawyer dramatically increases the probability that you will be awarded SSDI benefits. If you are applying to receive SSDI benefits, or even if you are only wondering if you qualify, speak to an experienced disability attorney as quickly as possible.