Ward Harper, Attorney at Law

Ward Harper, Attorney at Law (Phone: 801-272-7900 or 1-800-765-2141) (website: www.wardharper.com )

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Will SSDI benefits be reduced in the future?

There was another story in the Deseret News on November 26, 2012 stating that disability insurance benefits (SSDI) were expected to be reduced in 2016 because the "pot of money the SSA uses to cover disability insurance is projected to run dry in 2016."  This is very misleading.  The disability trust fund is not like a bank account or a well that can run dry.  It is an accounting term.  Social Security takes in so much money in FICA taxes every year and pays out so much.  The supervisors of the fund give an allocation each year to retirement and one to disability and change those allocations all the time.  All they have to do is switch an accounting number from retirement to disability and there is no shortage.  But more importantly, the amount that is allocated for Social Security is determined by Congress.  If the fund is negative, money must be taken out of the general funds of the government to pay for the benefits.  Nothing runs dry, but the deficit is increased.

Of course, in the long run, changes should be made to make the money taken in balance the benefits paid.  The retirement age might be increased.  FICA taxes might be increased.   The ceiling on how much of wages can be taxed might be increased.   Disability laws may be made tougher.  These sorts of decisions are all part of the negotiations now going on about how to decrease the budget deficit in the future.  People on disability are barely scraping by.  The solution will not be to cut benefits accross the board.

1 comment:

  1. The SSA’s funds can experience deficit, but since there are members who religiously pay their insurance, the funds can never run dry. There could be delay in the release of the beneficiaries premiums, but they will never lose funds for them. Since the government has very limited funds for all their projects, they must meticulously assess those who will receive the SSA benefits and how much they'll give. They should monitor the funds that they release and receive so that they can also provide better benefits and plans for their members. :)