Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is The SSDI Program Sustainable?

Congress recently had hearings on the sustainability of the Social Security disability program. Chairman Johnson in his opening statement provided some interesting statistics. "The continuing growth of the program is striking. At a time when workers paying into the system has increased nearly 70% between 1970 and 2010, the number of people receiving disability benefits increased by almost 300%, from 2.6 million to nearly 10 million."  The chairman continued by stating:  "according to the 2011 trustees report, without congressional action, the disability insurance trust fund will be unable to pay full benefits beginning in 2018, just a little over six years from now. The path we are on is unsustainable, and we are putting individuals with disabilities at risk if we do not accept soon."  There would appear to only be a few solutions to this problem. There would either have to be a reduction in benefits or an increase in revenues. I am guessing that we may see a combination of these two. It is a shame that we've gotten to this point of a crisis situation. Congress has been punting this problem for years and years and as usual because of the delay we are now at a point where the changes will be painful to taxpayers and possibly the disabled as well. It is my hope, that our government will take this issue seriously and find a way to make the Social Security disability system sustainable for the long haul. Social Security disability benefits are a crucial safety net for society's disabled. This is a system in which those that are eligible have been paying into, through their taxes from work, with the understanding that if they become disabled or when they retire there will be benefits available to them. All of us who have paid into the system deserve the protection it provides and hopefully Congress can find a solution to this urgent problem.