As baby boomers age and enter into retirement, there is growing concern among many economists and every day Americans alike related to the funding of Social Security. In an effort to try to control costs while maintaining certain governmental programs, advocacy groups are trying to determine ways to cut costs. One program that is coming under increased scrutiny is Social Security Disability Insurance.
According to a recent study conducted by the non-profit group Our Generation, nearly six percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 currently receive either SSDI or Supplemental Security Income benefits. This equates to nearly 9 million people with that number projected to grow.
Historically, SSDI benefits were provided to workers who were considered permanently disabled. Today, workers with varying degrees of disability may be eligible to receive benefits for a timeframe ranging from months to years.
Many are calling for reform, as they argue changes in SSDI eligibility requirements coupled with a large number of aging Americans threaten to cripple and bankrupt the entire Social Security program. The changes being proposed may impact millions of individuals who currently receive and depend on SSDI benefits to cover their monthly expenses.
Based on their report and findings, the advocacy group Our Generation recommends making several changes with regard to SSDI benefits and eligibility. In their new report they call for stricter eligibility requirements as well as the need to re-examine current beneficiaries’ disability status. Likewise, they believe administrative judges should be given more power to make decisions related to SSDI benefits.
In an effort to penalize employers who fail to keep employing workers with disabilities, the group is calling for an “experience rating” designation to be added for disability payroll taxes. This would allow employers who continue to keep employees with varying disabilities employed to receive tax breaks and incentives. Likewise, the group is calling for a requirement that employers carry their own private disability insurance.
Individuals who currently receive SSDI or SSI benefits would be wise to keep informed of potential changes to eligibility requirements.
Source: Yahoo News, “Our Generation Releases Report On Social Security Disability Insurance,” Aug. 8, 2012