The official numbers regarding Social Security disability benefits for 2011 have been reviewed. In that year, there were over 10 million people on SSDI who received approximately $128 billion in benefits. Most certainly many of those people were here in Philadelphia.
When the numbers were analyzed, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that there is a possibility that some people may have received benefits they shouldn’t have gotten. According to the report, nearly 36,000 people received upwards of $1.26 billion in over payments that year. When compared with the total amount of benefits paid out in 2011, it doesn’t seem like that much.
However, as the program is facing budgetary issues, every dollar counts. There is speculation that the SSDI program will be out of funds by 2016. Meanwhile, the Social Security retirement program could be out of money by 2033. Part of the budget issues for both programs is the fact that in 2011 and 2012, there was a temporary reduction in payments to the Social Security Administration. So where does this leave people around the country and in Philadelphia that receive SSDI? At this point, it’s not clear.
The laws, rules and regulations regarding eligibility for SSDI are already fairly stringent. Applicants have to be within certain income restrictions and have worked for five of the 10 years prior to applying for benefits. Then, applicants can make no more than $1,000 per month for about five months while they wait to receive benefits in addition to other restrictions and requirements. Navigating the system alone can be confusing and frustrating. Applicants may benefit from having advice and assistance in getting the benefits to which they are entitled.
Source: Wall St. Cheat Sheet, Social Security Disability Insurance: Too Much Through the Cracks?, Dan Ritter, Sept. 14, 2013