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Funding for disability benefits at the center of political battle

There is a very dangerous misconception about disability benefits that can have a very negative impact on the Social Security program and those who receive benefits. There are some people who believe that recipients of these benefits are not truly in need of them; that beneficiaries are exaggerating their claims and disabling conditions.

Unfortunately, some of the people with this belief are the very people tasked with maintaining and potentially changing the disability program. This appears to be what is currently happening in the new Congress. House members of Congress appear to support a dramatic shift in funding that the future of the program -- and the benefits available to recipients -- could be in danger.

According to reports, members of Congress are currently considering changing the way that the disability trust fund is supported. It has long been known that the money in this fund is dwindling. This is due in part to issues including aging Baby Boomers who are unable to work and an increase in the disabling conditions being covered by the program.

In past years when the disability trust fund has been in danger, Congress approved temporarily moving money from Social Security survivor's and retirement trust fund into the disability program to keep it afloat. However, currently, Congress is considering the House-proposed move to prevent this shift in funding.

If this happens, the already-strained disability program could start running out of funding in 2016 and lead to a cut of nearly 20 percent to recipients of disability payments. 

People collecting Social Security disability benefits rely on this support to help them make ends meet because they are physically or mentally disabled and unable to work. Further, they have paid into this program and should be able to expect that it will be there for them if and when they need it. However, there are people who instead choose to believe that the disability program hurts more people than it helps. 

We will certainly stay up-to-date on this issue, as the solution will have an impact on any current or future claims for disability payments

Source: National Priorities Project, "House Rule Would Cut Social Security Disability Benefits," Jasmine Tucker, Jan. 14, 2015

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