Baltimore Social Security Disability Lawyers: Future of Social Security Disability Insurance ProgramApril 18, 2016
For years, Congress has been looking for ways to save money by attempting to place disabled Americans into low-paying jobs, getting them off of Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has made many attempts to try to reduce or eliminate disability insurance through work-incentive programs. After over two decades of experiments, they have had little success.
In 1999, the SSA developed an experimental program known as the “Ticket to Work” program that offered job training and support from a group of employers. In 2003, another program was created, specifically for recipients of disability insurance (DI), which included job training and mental health support for individuals with schizophrenia and other disorders. After little success, both programs were shut down.
The latest program, called a Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND) program, is examining the success of a strategy whereby DI recipients’ benefits will be reduced by $1.00 for every $2.00 they earn in a job. Once they reach the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level of earnings, which was $1,090 for month in 2015, they will lose their benefits entirely. To date, this project has had little effect on earnings or overall benefits being paid out.
According to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that examined eight demonstration projects, the vast majority did not meet their goals, despite the belief that the DI program has become too costly and has a reputation for being corrupt and wasteful.
According to a Senior Policy Analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, although some of the projects had improved outcomes and positive rates of employment, none of the experiments resulted in a large number of DI recipients earning enough to support themselves without the help of their Social Security disability benefits.
Due to the fact that close to 11 million Americans are facing a 19 percent reduction in their DI benefits, Congress and the White House came up with a solution that guaranteed that the $150 billion DI trust fund would remain solvent. Concurrently, Republican leaders insist that the administration agree to a significant “entitlement reform” as part of the congressional bailout.
As a result of the growing number of Americans who require disability insurance, Social Security trustees caution that the DI fund could be depleted by the end of 2016. Beneficiaries could lose an average of $2,545 in benefits every year.
Last October, a major deal was negotiated that would extend the DI trust fund’s solvency into 2022. Lawmakers included specific language that would require further experimentations in cost savings. The goal, according to lawmakers, was to allow the agency to examine new ideas and promote work between current beneficiaries and applicants.
However, even if the government comes up with ways to reduce benefits long term, the DI trust fund may only be solvent for up to seven years, and designing, conducting and evaluating comprehensive experiments takes longer than seven years.
Maryland Social Security Disability Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Clients Facing Cuts in Disability Insurance
If you are at risk of losing your Social Security Disability benefits, contact our Maryland Social Security disability lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We have extensive experience in every aspect of Social Security disability law and we will fight hard to secure the benefits you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to handle Social Security disability appeals throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.