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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Federal Government Finds Ways to Save Disability Benefits from Insolvency

Today, the number of social security claimants has reached 3,226,790, which means that each day in the United States, there are 33 new people applicants signing up for Disability Living Allowance. 

It could be recalled that the social security disability benefit was created decades ago to help people who are unable to work due to disabling health conditions. Since then, the multi-billion program had prevented many Americans from financially struggling and sliding into total poverty.

However, in the past few months, the program itself seems to be inflicting further damage to the country’s slumping economy. Recently, more and more Americans qualified for disability benefits than land in a job despite the fact that the program is getting broke due to budget deficiency. In fact, from 1992 up to now, the total number of people relying on disability benefits had tripled.

Now, the current administration and the congressional Republicans are considering reforms to save the program from insolvency.

In a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it was revealed that they are weighing whether or not to consider narrowing the health eligibility standards for receiving benefits. Actually, guidelines for those suffering from mental disorders and simple muscle pain were last updated in 1985. Tighter criteria would definitely limit application, thereby reducing the costs.

In a separate analysis released by the CBO, the government could save up to $22 million by 2022 from reducing benefits across the board by 15 percent. It means that the disability benefits for any beneficiary older than 62 will be reduced. Also, it is considering a raise in additional tax revenue, particularly for SSDI.

Another risky option discussed by federal officials is increasing the share of social security tax revenues pointed toward the disability program. It was despite the fact that the expense would come from a portion of the trust fund for retirees that was already foreseen to reach bankruptcy by 2035.

On the other hand, disability advocates like the American Association of People with Disabilities and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives declare their disapproval at any efforts that may limit either the number of people eligible for disability or the sum of disability benefits.

Also, a Los Angeles social security disability firm agrees that the program has become a substitute for unemployment since there are a lot of eligible people with severe health problems who still count on it for daily sustenance. The government should instead focus in cracking down frauds before considering any option that may harm the disabled community, said several disability advocates.