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What will happen to Social Security disability benefits in 2016?

Any person who has had to go through the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits likely knows that the system is flawed and in serious need of reform. Applications are denied right away to clear up huge backlogs; appeals can take a long time due to high caseloads for judges; and allegations of fraudulent claims are creating more stress on the already floundering system.

This means that people with legitimate claims who are unable to work and are in desperate need of the financial support can face a number of frustrating and upsetting obstacles as they try to navigate the Social Security disability benefits program. Recently, it was announced that another challenge is on the horizon for the disability program: insolvency.

Reports indicate that unless Congress takes action before 2016, significant numbers of people could lose their Social Security disability funds. As it stands, the program will only be able to cover about 80% of the current benefits in 2016. 

There are a number of solutions that Congress may use to deal with this situation. They could do nothing, which means that people would lose their benefits. They could reallocate money from Social Security retirement funds to disability to cover the payments, but that would only provide temporary relief.

Congress could also take action to reform the disability program on a much larger scale. This, supporters argue, would create long-term solutions that benefit those in need instead of just ignoring the problem or putting a temporary fix in place that only partially addresses the issues.

We will certainly be paying attention to developments in this story. Whatever steps are or are not taken could have a dramatic impact on the lives of Atlanta residents who rely on Social Security disability benefits.

Source: CNN Money, "The Social Security cash crunch Congress can't ignore," Jeanne Sahadi, June 17, 2014

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