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Many Pennsylvanians are likely concerned about the latest news coming from Washington regarding Social Security disability benefits. If Congress does not act before 2016, the benefits of the Social Security disability program will be exhausted, resulting in a drastic cut in available funds.

Per the 2014 Annual Report of the Social Security Administration, the SDDI Trust fund benefits will run dry in two years. If Congress does not act by 2016, individuals’ monthly benefits will be cut by $218. On average this equates to a reduction from $1,146 a month to $928. If the trust fund goes bankrupt within two years, which will result in a 20% cut across the board, many Pennsylvanians will be affected. Once the funds are exhausted, the incoming contributions will be sufficient to sustain the program for approximately 80% of the program’s benefit payments.

After multiple years of financial deficit, it may come with no surprise that the SSDI is teetering on complete, and full, depletion. Thousands of Pennsylvania residents, as well as many more across the nation, will be deeply distressed by this catastrophic event. Initially the program served the purpose of supporting disabled individuals and their families, however, the program has increasingly become a resource for early retirement and long-term unemployment.

Despite the increased health of workers and a decrease in less physically demanding jobs, there is a steady increase in disability benefits claims. In 1984, requirements for benefits qualifications expanded to more subjective measures, like pain and depression. Today, more than half of all disability awards are given to individuals with musculoskeletal disorders and mental impairments.

About SSDI

 

In January 2013, 8.8 million disabled workers received benefits. Managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance program offering cash benefits for blind or disabled individuals. Specifically, the SSDI is funded through payroll taxes and available to those individuals who have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the SSD trust fund. When a person suffers a serious injury or condition leaving the person unable to engage in substantial gainful for at least 12 months, SSDI is an option. The amount of benefits given is dependent on the disabled workers’ past earnings and are paid to the disabled workers or the disabled workers’ dependent family members. Currently, all workers and employers contribute to the disability insurance benefits as part of Social Security taxes – which is approximately 6.2% of the workers’ earnings.

The SSDI program has suffered many challenges over the years, including backlog of processing claims, accusations of frauds, and funding problems. In order to salvage the livelihood of millions of disabled individuals, Congress needs to act fast to fix the potential threat to the SSDI. It is essential for Congress to resolve this issue and present a reform. The program needs to preserved for the millions who are dependent on the sources. A 20% decrease in monthly benefits can cause great financial distress, and possibly move recipients below the poverty line.

Need Help?

The entire SSDI process can be complicated, time-consuming, and structured to discourage claims. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, you should discuss your case with one of the experienced attorneys at Solnick & Levin LLC. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today at 215-481-9979 for a free consultation.

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey via Compfight cc

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