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New Commission Proposed to “Improve” Social Security

Individuals who depend upon Social Security Disability benefits for their income should be on alert, as two U.S. Representatives are now proposing the creation of a bipartisan commission to improve Social Security. Unfortunately, when politicians try to "improve" programs, often this ends up having an adverse impact on the benefits that people within the program are receiving.

Social Security Disability benefits are already very difficult to qualify for and, for those on SSI at least, provide a very limited amount of money for someone who is suffering from an impairing long-term condition that makes work impossible. Social security disability attorneys in New York are often called upon to help applicants whose benefits claims are denied, and an experienced attorney at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano should be consulted to help those who need benefits but are not receiving them.

New Commission to Improve Social Security

According to the Washington Post, Republican Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Democratic Representative John Delaney of Maryland have introduced a bill that would create a 13-member Social Security Commission. The Commission would be given one year to generate a list of recommendations designed to improve the program.

The Social Security Administration currently has enough funds to pay retirement benefits through 2033, after which time there will be money available to pay around 75 percent of scheduled benefits until at least 2087. For Social Security Disability, on the other hand, there are much more serious impending financial problems. Unless Congress acts to make a change to the SSD program, it could run out of money in the next two years and beneficiaries could face cuts to their disability income as early as 2016.

The hope is that the Committee will be able to come up with ideas that will strengthen the program and ensure its survival for the next 75 years, before a crisis point is reached and the money is gone.

A variety of lawmakers have already made different proposals, including scaling back benefits or increasing funding for Social Security by raising the payroll tax cap.

Unfortunately, the last bipartisan commission to come up with a suggestion on "saving" Social Security was the Simpson Bowles Commission, which came up with a chained CPI proposal. This proposal would alter the way Cost of Living increases are calculated, which would result in a defacto benefit that becomes progressively more severe.

Despite President Obama offering chained CPI as a compromise to Republicans in past budgets, the proposal never went into effect. The last substantial change to the Social Security Program occurred in the 1980s and involved a partial tax on benefits, among other things.

Changes and improvements to the Social Security system should not involve taking money from retirees or from disabled individuals who are on fixed incomes and who cannot work to make up the shortfall. Recipients of SSD benefits should closely watch any political efforts to make changes as their financial security may be at stake.

If you have suffered a disability in New York, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717 or by visiting