In recent years, a great deal of media coverage has centered on the current state of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and its funding. The most complete picture that the media and general public receive on this issue is presented in the form of the SSA Trustee’s annual report on the actual and projected status of the nation’s Social Security trust. The 2013 report has just been released.
Of particular concern to many is what information this year’s report holds with regards to Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). The most promising news in this respect that the report has to offer is that SSD recipients will continue to receive their benefits for at least another 20 years. Of course, this report assumes that our nation’s financial situation does not change dramatically over this period of time. However, the fact that SSD benefits are projected to remain relatively stable over the next few decades is not unwelcome news.
The one caveat to this news is that Congress must act upon reforming the SSD trust fund in particular by 2016. Failure to do so will potentially result in beneficiaries only receiving about 80 percent of their benefits after this point. This news will hopefully inspire Congress to consider this issue carefully within the next few years in order to ensure that disability benefits are not cut even as the system overall remains stable until 2033 or so.
SSD benefits remain a critical source of income for millions of disabled Americans. Though much of the information contained within the 2013 report is promising, it is important that Congress keeps vulnerable populations in the forefront of its collective mind as it considers how to reform this trust moving forward.