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A Look at the Social Security Disability Repair Initiative

New York City Workers' CompensationThe Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) is a lifeline for many disabled workers who are not able to have a job because of an injury, illness or other disabling medical condition. Unfortunately, the SSDI trust fund is in very serious financial trouble. The SSDI trust fund is expected to run out of money towards the end of 2016, which would necessitate an immediate 20-percent across-the-board cut in benefits. Social Security Disability attorneys in New York know that this would be devastating to the thousands who rely on SSDI to take care of themselves and their families.

According to Roll Call, there is a proposed plan designed to "fix" Social Security so that this cut in benefits does not have to occur. Jim McCrery and Earl Pomeroy have joined together on a "bipartisan basis to launch the McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative."

Will the SSDI Solutions Initiative Solve the Social Security Problem?

The SSDI Solutions Initiative is not so much a plan, as an attempt to look for solutions to a difficult problem when politicians won't recognize that the only reasonable approach to take would be to do whatever is necessary to protect benefits of the disabled.

The initiative is designed to "solicit ideas for concrete and practical reforms that improve aspects of the SSDI program." Any proposals that are made will be subject to rigorous review and will then be presented at a conference in 2015. The proposed solutions will be published along with recommendations from the chairman of the McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative.

For those depending upon SSDI, this proposal likely does not give much comfort. Social Security disability benefits are far too limited as it is, and it is important for those who cannot work to be able to provide for themselves and their families. Lawmakers are elected to try to solve problems and protect the vulnerable yet it appears their plan is to essentially throw up their hands and avoid hard decisions, asking for help from anyone and everyone who might be able to save an important safety net for the disabled.

In the announcement of the initiative, the legislatures say "The 20 percent cut in benefits disabled beneficiaries face would be mindless, unfair and traumatic - and must be avoided." And yet, their best solution for avoiding this "traumatic" cut is to create a commission that reviews proposals from others? The government needs to do more, and discussions should be on how to increase benefits to the disabled rather than on potential cuts.

Past efforts to resolve financial problems in government programs like the Simpson-Bowles Commission failed in their efforts to find solutions that could be implemented, but at least the goal in those cases was to actually come up with suggestions to save the program. In this case, lawmakers are acting as though they are doing something to solve a problem when really all they have done is ask others for solutions.

Advocates have made some suggestions already, like reallocating funds dedicated to the Social Security retirement program to the Social Security Disability program, but this would result in both programs running out of money by early 2030. Others have suggested making changes to outdated eligibility criteria, improving coordination with other programs or creating incentives for disabled workers who want to re-enter or return to the workforce. While these suggestions are not necessarily the right approach, at least they are actual proposed solutions. The best solution, however, would be to find a way not just to preserve benefits but to make it easier for more disabled people to get the income they need to take care of themselves.

The reality is, hard choices need to be made to protect the disabled. Those choices need to be made sooner, rather than later, to provide stability for the disabled.

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 Attorney advertising.