The countdown has begun. In a year's time, the nation's greatest safety net will run out of money enabling it to pay full benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance helps 11 million disabled workers and their dependents pay their bills.
If Congress fails to act within the next year, SSDI benefits will be slashed by 19 percent, according to a Social Security trustee report. Many congressional critics have said that a fix should already be in place; they say it's irresponsible to worry SSDI beneficiaries about a looming cut.
But the reality is that the potential drastic cut casts a shadow over the program and is likely to be a hotly contested issue in the already heated presidential campaign.
Regular readers of our San Diego SSDI blog understand the importance of fixing the trust fund that pays for benefits.
About 20 years ago, a similar disability funding crunch occurred. At that time, Congress simply diverted funds from the then-bulging retirement trust into the dwindling disability trust. The problem was fixed for a couple of decades.
Congress could easily fix the current crisis in much the same way, but there are politicians and pundits urging lawmakers to create a long-term solution instead.
One possible fix is to give employers and workers alike incentives to keep people working and to help people return to work when their health improves. This potential solution and many others are sure to be bandied about in coming months. Let's hope that during the debate, everyone remembers the bottom line: SSDI must remain fully funded so that those prevented from working by injury or illness continue to have food on their tables and roofs over their heads.
It seems that everything to do with SSDI is complicated, from funding it to applying for it to appealing a denial of benefits. There is no easy way through any of these difficulties.
However, an experienced SSDI attorney can help you navigate the complex appeals process and help you get the much-needed benefits you deserve.