Last week, Forbes, USA Today and other significant news sources published articles claiming that Social Security disability is “on verge of insolvency.” These claims come after congressional estimates were released showing that the Social Security disability trust fund could run out of money by 2017.
What does this mean for those with pending Social Security disability applications? For now: nothing. What the government decides to do to save the Social Security disability program is important. However, Social Security disability lawyers across the country agree that this should not prevent you from applying for and receiving the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled.
Remember: news sources are often overly dramatic when telling the news. They are trying to sell stories. It is true that the Social Security disability program is strapped for money. However, there are solutions. For example, the Social Security trustees have asked Congress to transfer money from the retirement system to the Social Security disability program.
Furthermore, it is typical for the number of SSDI claims to increase during a rough economy. Approximately one million more people will likely apply for SSDI this year than did 10 years ago.
News sources and their commentators often point fingers at Social Security disability insurance recipients, calling SSDI a form of “welfare,” and claiming that many people are defrauding the system. For most SSDI applicants, this is insulting and simply not the case. They are often the victims of a backlogged system; people who cannot work and must wait to learn whether they will have any financial resources to get by.
According to the Social Security Administration, approximately 13.6 million Americans receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income. On average, the SSDI program pays $927 a month and the SSI program pays $500 a month. This is not enough money for most people to “cheat the system.”
If you are considering applying for SSDI or have been denied benefits, now is not the time to worry about whether or not the trust fund will run out of money. Instead, contact an experienced SSDI lawyer near you to begin the SSDI application or appeals process.
Source: Associated Press, “Social Security Disability on Verge of Insolvency,” Stephen Ohlemacher, August 21, 2011