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Congress may need to act now to save Social Security disability

Our nation's Social Security system has two primary parts. One part is the disability insurance system. The other part is the Old Age and Survivors Insurance program. Congress has always treated them together under the larger financial umbrella of the Social Security Administration, moving funds from one to the other when needed.

Pretty soon, though, the disability fund is expected to run dry. At present, the Social Security Administration has enough money to keep both funds running until 2033. However, unless money is transferred from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance fund into the disability fund soon, the disability program is expected to run dry at or about the end of 2016.

Transferring funds, to save the disability program, may prove difficult though. On Tuesday, Jan. 6, the House of Congress invoked a parliamentary rule making it difficult to move money from one fund to the other.

Those opposed to the reallocation say that moving more money into the disability fund would represent a temporary solution at best, and it would not solve the larger problem of the disability program being plagued by fraud. Opponents of transferring funds also say that it will hurt the retirement program.

Proponents of reallocation say that it would correct an imbalance between the two programs that Congress created back in 1983, when it transferred money from the disability program into the retirement program. In those days, it was the retirement fund that was going to run out of money.

At the end of the day, if Congress decides to halt the transfer of money, it means that lawmakers will have to address the funding problems associated with the Social Security disability program soon -- before the end of 2016 -- as opposed to waiting until 2033. It will certainly be interesting to see how Congress resolves this pressing issue, which could affect millions of Americans on disability.

Those who require Social Security disability benefits in Minnesota may want to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney to help them with their benefits application. An attorney can be particularly helpful in working to ensure that the application is completed in a way that gives the applicant the best chance of approval for the highest level of benefits possible.

Source: The Washington Post, "Social Security disability payments will be cut by a fifth if Congress doesn’t act" Max Ehrenfreund, Jan. 07, 2015

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