Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
Advocacy / AMAC Action

Save the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund

social security cardsBy – J Patrick Gromek

While many in the media are consumed with presidential politics, national scandals and foreign crises, the tide has been slowly rising on a serious concern closer to home — at least for older and disabled Americans.  A threat far more immediate and severe consequences looms, if Congress does not act.  The Social Security Trustees say the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund, on which millions of Americans depend daily, will be insolvent by late 2016.

Yes, we are all concerned for Greece and the European Union, varied presidential declarations and intriguing silences, but our own members of Congress, Rep. McSally and Sens. Flake and McCain, should distinguish the important from the urgent — and fixing the Disability Insurance Trust Fund has become urgent.

Why?  Because if Congress does nothing in this session, there will be a 20 percent across-the-board cut in disability benefits in less than 18 months.  This means that more than nine million Americans currently onSSDI benefits would lose them. As of now (July 2015) Congress still has a “window of opportunity” to take meaningful action and a chance to put this program on more stable financial footing.

How?  Many on the Left have advocated for a reallocation of payroll taxes from retirement fund (OASI) to the disability fund (SSDI) — which might offer a temporary (and plainly political) patch for SSDI.  But this is an unsatisfactory answer.  If not chicanery, as this just “kicks the can” down the road — and not far.

There is an answer.  Groups that represent seniors, notably led by AMAC (the Association of Mature American Citizens) have taken on this issue and offer specific advice.  We should ask Congress to follow it.  The nub: Address structural vulnerabilities in the program.

Specifics?  Aggressively end today’s endemic “waste, fraud and abuse” in this entitlement program freeing resources for the truly deserving.  Beyond enforcement of anti-fraud laws, press a “whistleblower” program. If someone notifies the Social Security Administration that a person claiming “disability” is abusing the system that “whistleblower” receives two years of disability payments that would have gone to the abuser, ending the abuser’s draw on the system and triggering deterrence.  This reflects similar statutes, such as qui tam and the private attorney general statues, private awards for ending public abuse.

More comprehensively, Congress should insist that the  Administration revisit the entire determination process for disabilities, methodically modernizing the SSDImedical-vocational “grid” rules to reflect technological advancements, physical condition tracking and modern rehabilitation.  This is not as absurd as it sounds.  Congress should first, create new disability categories — such as partial and temporary — to cover workers not “totally and permanently disabled,” quickly reducing aggregate numbers on long-term dependence.  Then, provide support services that match those with identical disabilities returning set of current beneficiaries to productive work.

Are we ready for these reforms?  Yes, we have to be.  Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) for example, has signaled that Congress is looking at SSDI seriously — not a moment too soon.  He offered guiding principles.  Our representatives should consider and follow them and correct this program — now.

J Patrick Gromek is a Delegate for AMAC 2nd District of Arizona

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today

41
Leave a Reply

23 Comment threads
18 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
28 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Gary

Two easy fixes; 1. Refund all that was taken from SS with penalties and interest (this is the people’s money, not the government’s). 2. Use the penalty part to rigorously investigate and eliminate fraud once and for all. However, this won’t work for two simple reasons; 1. Washing is filled to the brim with corruption. 2. The working class tax paying American citizen ALWAYS gets the short end of the stick. My own brother has been collecting disability for many years now. The only “disabilities” he has are chronic laziness and alcoholism. He found a crooked doctor, and that’s all it took to get a FREE and immediate “early retirement package”. If that’s not bad enough, he’s always worked under the table to prevent paying taxes. How can he qualify if he’s never paid into the system? And to add icing to the cake, he rubs it in my face… Read more »

Cheri H Dorbritz

First there is a difference between SSI and SSDI. SSI is taxpayer funds used to support “anyone” that can prove an inability to work and a financial need. It is never paid into and is rife with abuse. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a program designed for people who have worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for years prior to becoming disabled. If an individual is judged disabled, the individual will receive SSDI benefits regardless of the individual’s assets or family income. SSI can take a flying leap as far as I’m concerned, but if you have worked, are approaching retirement age and can no longer work it is “owed” to you.
It is also interesting to note that SSI monthly amounts can be thousands, while SSDI monthly amounts are seldom more than a few hundred monthly. As usual those who have worked get the shaft.

ONTIME

In my time, the huge SS ponzi scheme has matured to exposure and all the failings are hanging out like unbuttoned long johns, I would be much more inclined to completely rewrite new legislation to allow those who like SS and those who want the freedom of better plans with risk involved to be voluntary…SS is now ready to fade into the sunset, it has run the gamet and the government has put it in deep debt and has no plans to return the money they have stolen, it had no oversight and is riddled with graft and now the time has come to abandon the SS over the next 15 years….Let the future generations have a real chance at being responsible for their own retirements…..

Jacque Greene

Yes SSDI needs to be cut, not for all, but for most it needs to be eliminated. The system is abused by the public and nothing is being done.

Sharon

The program isn’t broken, the lack of monitoring this and other government programs for fraud is broken. I know of some people on SSDI benefits that work. One woman makes money on E-Bay and she claims that she is “disabled”. She went to college and could have worked for the local government agency in our county but makes out better receiving her benefits and E-Bay sales. How was she able to walk a campus and carry books, rush to class, etc. but now can’t work? Another woman stated she couldn’t work because of fibromyalgia yet she was pulling weeds from the side of the road and flinging them over her head. She was beautifying the road that leads to our lane. She was working before she received her benefits and claimed she was in to much pain. Another is working off the books at a car wash while collecting disability… Read more »

Vicki

Why do they never talk about taking money from Medicaid or welfare. Many people have had multi-generational families on Social programs, and they have never paid a dime into anything. Millions make a way of life by not working and just collecting a check. Seniors have paid 30-40 years of their hard earned money every month so that there would be money (their own money ) to take care of them when they got old. Anytime the govt. needs money they steal from SS-or Medicare. Take the needed money from some other programs used for illegals or people who are able, but just too sorry to work.

Pat

Very disappointed to see AMAC defend the SS disability program. It is rife with fraud and corruption, as all government programs are. It needs to end!

If groups that claim to be conservative won’t give up their place at the trough, then there is no hope for government spending to be cut until the country is bankrupt. Charity is voluntary; government programs that take one person’s money to give to another are legalized theft, no matter how “good” the cause.

Chuck

Thank you Rae for stating the the real reason nothing gets done in the District of Corruption.

rae yearnd

Just another looming Crisis that will be used by the ruling elite of both parties to justify some kind of extension of the debt ceiling or re authorization of this or that. This is not news, it WAS news ten years ago when Bush 43 purposed a few small changes to SS and was IMMEDIATELY shouted down by both sides of the isle.

Mike.S

Social Security (SS) funds have been used to fund other programs that those in Washington find of interest to them. SS would be fine if the funds had been kept in a separate SS account. Government is too large to function properly. The SS system could be slowly closed down. Meanwhile, an untouchable account should be set up for SS payments to go into, evaluate all on SS to determine if payments should continue, take any none U.S. citizen off the welfare and SS roles, and force all people working under age 50 to set up a 401K with a minimum of 6 percent of their gross income to be contributed with a 25 percent company match. Those over age 49 found eligible should collect benefits until no longer eligible. This way we will eventually eliminate SS and satisfy those that are in need. Furthermore, have a flat tax and… Read more »

Kevin Dowling

SSDI and Food Stamps usage has more than doubled during King Obamas reign. The reason is simple. Those on the dole will vote Democratic. SSDI cases and Food Stamp eligibility need to be revisited and fraudsters removed. Talk about waste,,,,, my blood boils when I see the leaches who are paid to give out “free” Obama phones. Why are taxpayers being fleeced millions to pay for deadbeats cell phones ?

SS was forced on me and everyone else who worked hard. It is NOT and entitlement. We paid for it. Dam the politicians who are pushing for “means tests”. I do not want anymore government drones deciding who should receive SS when we have been forced to pay into it. Beware !! Rino Chris Christie has means testing on his agenda……

lizzyb

There are so many IOU’s in the SSI fund that congress has never made an attempt to repay…start there!

Terry

Wake up all you @#$%^.

There is no lockbox. SS is a Ponzi scheme you must participate in. SS is far past broke and can’t be fixed by Band-Aids like raising age or getting rich people to pay more. All these erudite people with their ideas are full of @#$%. Wake up AMAC, SS is not a conservative idea, it is extreme failed Liberalism. Private accounts and personal responsibility is Conservative. Sorry for the curses but you people are too dumb to vote.

Manfred

The disability program needs to end. The national government needs to slowly get out of ALL social programs and be constrained within Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution.

Dr. Scott Davis

At a meeting with Rep. Fred Upton two years ago, I pleaded with him to initiate a bill titled “Lockbox Law for Social Security and Medicare,” and the reasons for this are simple. Since 1964, the excess funds for the two separately funded systems have been used in the general treasury. There’s no trust fund for them. The IOU markers are meaningless. Rep. Upton said, “Why did Jesse James rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.” There’s no stomach to stop stealing the funds from it in Congress. They’ve been putting all the money into the general treasury. There’s no trust funds and the IOUs will not be paid back. We need a Lockbox Law to separate and secure the funds from congress, like the $720billion taken from Medicare’s funds to pay for ovomitcare. These benefits belong to the American people and their families. We must force congress and… Read more »

Rick Armbruster

Rest assured that as long as the U.S. government has been in existence there has and will continue to be waste and fraud. In a galaxy far away the news media used to report on this subject usually only when a Republican was president. When in the last few years was there a specific story from the press about ssdi fraud and abuse? As long as “beltway” Mitch McConnell and “shake the money tree” John Boehner are in charge of the U.S. congress forget even a reduction of fraud and abuse of any kind.

Michael D Powell

The Disability Fund has been squandered by an unchecked system. Like SS, money has been distributed to dead people and many that are about as disabled as my big toe. Many got on it after the unemployment ran out. All of a sudden there are millions on the system. I know what they plan if anything, take to money out of the SS system. Much comes from there anyways but it will get worse. A real solution to the problem? Good luck!

Bill Binning

This program should be severed from the rest of Social Security. It is inadequately funded, and is now much more than intended for part D.

H. Patrick

I have known and know several people that are drawing SSDI without truly being disabled. They perform many physical functions that demonstrate the supposed disability is phony. This is the kind of fraud that needs to be prosecuted and stopped. I have also heard that there are doctors that contribute to this activity.

Bruce David

There isn’t any government program or benefit that doesn’t have an element of fraud or mismanagement, that is the nature of government and politics. SSI and welfare payments, for example, are given to illegals along with other government freebies and this should not be the case.
As far as I know it is still challenging to get disability and in many cases, folks are wrongfully denied. An imperfect system certainly but I’m unsure how one can improve it.