St. Louis residents may have heard quite a bit in the news lately about the increases in the number of beneficiaries receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. While the reasons behind this increase in the benefit population remain a hotly contested issue, another problem potentially looms large for the federal assistance program: possible financial insolvency.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Social Security Disability Trust Fund hit a deficit of $31.49 billion in 2013. This represents the fifth straight year that the program has run a deficit after 15 consecutive years of surpluses. One of the potential factors that's pointed to as a cause of this continuing deficit is the fact that the SSD benefit population has increased 20% during that same five-year time frame. Experts now estimate that the program's total remaining trust fund of just over $100 billion could be depleted by as early as 2016.
Yet some believe that rather that seeing sweeping reforms regarding the benefit program's qualifications and administration, the federal government will instead look to borrow fund from the Social Security Trust Fund, further straining the use of the government retirement program's resources. These speculations come at the same time that even top SSA officials admit that their own workforce and resources are strained having to deal with the increased number of benefit applications that they've seen in recent years.
Despite questions surrounding the financial future of the program, SSD benefits remain a valuable source of relief to those unable to work and support themselves. Those currently receiving such benefits or anticipating the need for them may wish to keep in contact with a Social Security lawyer regarding current SSA news and any potentials program changes that may be in the horizon.
Source: Newsmax.com "SSA: Disability Recipients Soar, Funding Nearly Depleted Under Obama" Jennifer G. Hickey, Dec. 17, 2013.