President Obama Proposes Plan to Ensure the Future of SSDI

Author: Andrew Sperling - 2/20/2015

The Social Security Administration has projected that without a reallocation of funds, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund will not be able to pay full benefits within 2 years. Unless Congress acts now, monthly cash SSDI benefits could be cut by as much as 19%. President Obama’s 2016 budget includes a proposal to move funding among Social Security’s trust funds to ensure that the fund that finances SSDI benefits is not drained as early as the end of 2016.

This movement of funds is called reallocation. Reallocation would mean a temporary shift of Social Security revenues to the SSDI fund reserves. This move will extend the SSDI fund for almost two decades, without cutting Social Security coverage, eligibility or benefits—and without increasing taxpayer contributions.

Contact your Senator today to ask them to support reallocation.

Last month the House of Representatives passed a change in the rules that would create a budget “point of order” to prevent reallocating funds between Social Security trust funds. In recent decades these reallocations have proceeded with broad bipartisan support in Congress. NAMI joined a coalition of national disability organizations objecting to this change and it will remain a priority in NAMI's advocacy efforts.

The House Budget rule was the first step in a major debate likely to occur in 2015 on the future of the SSDI program. The growth in the SSDI rolls in recent years (through a period of recession), especially among beneficiaries with mental illness and back injuries is causing concern. In addition, there are emerging concerns about the potential fraud and abuse in SSDI claims.

The President’s budget addresses the concerns raised about the growth of the number of people eligible for SSDI and fraud and abuse by investing $400 million in funding for early intervention demonstration programs. These demonstration programs would provide supports and services to workers with mental impairments, including mental illness, in order to help them avoid ever having to go on SSDI. The budget also proposes expansion of program integrity measures, including additional funds for “continuing disability reviews” (CDRs).

Read more about the importance of the SSDI trust fund reallocation.

 

Contributions from Jessica W. Hart.