In an election year, people in Pennsylvania are used to hearing about all sorts of political issues. People know that many of these issues are used as a way to keep politicians in the spotlight. Whether or not significant changes are made following the election, however, is often up in the air. However, some issues are so important that a resolution must be reached for the good of the American people.
One such issue is Social Security Disability Insurance. SSDI is a federal benefits program that allows disabled individuals to collect income when they are no longer able to work. These individuals must meet stringent medical requirements and must have paid into the system — through their work — for enough time to qualify for benefits.
It is no secret, though, that the SSDI program is struggling financially. Data suggest that the program will be depleted by late 2016 if reforms are not made. If this occurs, Pennsylvania families that rely on SSDI income will lose an average of $2,545 a year in benefits. This is a significant cut considering the average recipient only receives $14,000 a year in benefits.
While it may seem obvious that changes need to be made, many politicians are unwilling to address the delicate subject during the election year. The solutions that have been proposed to the funding issues are politically unpopular. The proposed solutions include shifting money from the Social Security Retirement Fund — which only provides a short term solution — changing the requirements to get benefits, or cutting benefits across the board.
However, neither political party wants to be seen as allowing funding cuts to disabled Americans. Nor do the parties want to take money from retirees by shifting money from other Social Security Administration programs. Despite these reservations, it’s clear that action must be taken. Until it is, disabled Pennsylvania residents need to keep a close eye on the situation.
Source: The Fiscal Times, “Battle Lines Form in the Fight Over Social Security Payment Reductions,” Eric Pianin, Aug. 5, 2015