Tag Archives: congress

Unfortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) has once again become the target of political attacks despite a lack of evidence supporting those attacks. The latest uproar comes from comments by Florida Congressman Allen West. Last week, West stated that, because SSDI beneficiary numbers have been growing, “…we are creating a system of economic dependence, which, to me is a form of modern, 21st-century slavery.” As we have discussed in several posts in the past, the evidence suggests otherwise. Here are a few of the reasons why Congressman West’s remarks miss the target: You can only receive SSDI benefits if you worked long enough to pay into the system; SSDI is a form of insurance not free money, so, if your work history is insufficient, you cannot receive SSDI benefits We should expect SSDI beneficiaries to grow – our population is growing, Baby Boomers are aging (with age comes an increased…
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Cases of Social Security fraud usually make the news as a result of their outlandish or extreme natures. In recent years, there have been cases of fraud involving friends’ wheeling around their deceased friend in a wheelchair to collect his benefits checks, a man’s dressing up as his deceased mother to go into a bank and cash her checks, and the Philadelphia human trafficking case where a criminal group had kept a number of severely disabled adults in a basement while collecting their benefits. Even though its enforcement wing is chronically underfunded, the Social Security Administration does its best to investigate and prosecute cases like these with what resources it does have. Bolstering investigative resources makes sense – after all, if you can spend several thousand to prosecute a fraud that would have resulted in several tens of thousands in losses, performing the investigation makes perfect financial sense – but…
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This week we have discussed SSDI benefits and the grim financial situation it is facing; it is on track to start cutting benefit levels as early as 2015, well before retirement benefits start facing the same problem. Today we take a look at the evolution of SSDI benefits – how they got started and what changes over the years have led to where we find ourselves today. The History of SSDI Benefits Although FDR looked into providing disability insurance benefits during The Great Depression, it was Congress and President Eisenhower in 1956 who formally instituted SSDI benefits In SSDI’s first four years, it was only available to disabled Americans over the age of 50, because politicians believed that these workers would need cash benefits more than younger workers who could still undergo rehabilitation training and return to work To complement SSDI benefits and reform state welfare programs, President Nixon created…
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As troubling as SSDI benefits’ running out of funding in 2015 or 2016 may be, what may be more troubling is that few politicians seem worried about it. Rarely do we hear any mention from President Obama or anyone in Congress about SSDI’s fate. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan remarked, “We’re not trying to fix every problem in America with this [budget]. We’re trying to prevent a crisis, and [SSDI] is not a driver of our debt.” What will happen to SSDI benefits in three years? One possible outcome will be a cut in SSDI benefits. Starting in 2015 or 2016, there will only be funds to cover 79 percent of the amount of SSDI benefits each month. Using the current monthly average benefit of about $1100, that would mean beneficiaries would have to start making do with $869 a month in financial assistance while they are disabled and…
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