Regardless of your personal political views, politics could have a significant impact on your Social Security disability eligibility and benefits. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised not to cut Social Security benefits. Whether or not the majority of Congress agrees with President Trump is yet to be determined, but it is an important issue to watch and to make your views known going forward.
Social Security Disability Is Often a Political Issue
A few years ago, there was significant concern about whether Social Security disability payments could continue to be made in 2017. At that time there were dire predictions that Social Security disability payments would be cut significantly at the end of 2016 because there would be no money left to pay benefits. It was thought that benefits would decrease by about 20% and bring many Social Security disability beneficiaries below the poverty line. In January 2015 the House of Representatives passed a parliamentary rule that prevented moving money from Social Security retirement funds to Social Security disability absent a larger plan to secure Social Security finances.
However, instead of a decrease in benefits, Social Security disability recipients received a 0.3% cost of living increase for 2017. The talk may have been scary but politicians found a way to provide stability to the Social Security disability program. This may have been due to pressure from constituents and advocacy groups.
But the Time for Advocacy Is Not Over
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the Social Security disability insurance trust fund will run out in 2022. That time may be extended to 2029 if funds are shared with the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund. At the end of that time, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the Social Security Administration will no longer be able to fully cover benefits if no changes are made to taxes or other laws.
Accordingly, it is important to make sure your voice is heard.
You have a direct interest in this. Social Security disability is not an academic or political issue for you or your family. It is important. Thus, it is essential for you to let your Congressperson know your opinion so that your voice can be heard in Washington and so that our elected officials know that this issue matters.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.