According to the U.S. Census, 1 in 5 Americans is living with a disability; about 57 million people. The Social Security Disability programs provide support to only about 14 million people with the most significant disabilities. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), like the rest of the United States Social Security system, is funded through payroll contributions from workers and employers. SSDI provides benefits to workers who have become disabled before reaching retirement age, and who have paid enough social security payroll taxes to be covered by the program. About 40% of people who apply for social security are awarded benefits under the current law’s strict disability standard.
Significant growth in the number of SSDI claims
Recently, some members of Congress have brought up their concerns about the financial stability of the SSDI program. In recent years, there has been a great increase in the number of social security claims made by disabled workers. This is putting pressure on the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which members of Congress believe will be drained by 2016. According to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the aging baby boom generation and the increase of female disabled workers are contributing to this growth in SSDI claims. Changes in the federal policy’s disability criteria, high unemployment rates, and the increasing value of disability benefits to low-income workers may also be contributing factors in the number of applications rolling in.
SSDI reform to reduce the number of beneficiaries
Several ideas for social security reform have been proposed by lawmakers hoping to find a way to regulate the growth in SSDI claims. Most reform proposals focus on reducing the inflow of new beneficiaries into the program by implementing stricter SSDI eligibility criteria , improving consistency in determining levels of disability, and incentivizing employers to provide supported-work services like rehabilitation and workplace accommodation for disabled employees. Some are seeking to increase the termination of beneficiaries from the program by providing stronger incentives for people with some capacity to return to work.
Regardless of how the government decides to implement SSDI reform, the program will be designed to decrease the number of people who receive SSDI benefits to preserve the Disability Insurance fund for as long as possible. This means it may be more difficult to get the social security disability benefits you have earned. To find out if you are eligible for disability benefits, contact a knowledgeable SSDI attorney to get help with your claim. The experienced social security disability team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can guide you through the grueling claims process and help you get the benefits you deserve.