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Does Congress have a plan for SSD?

If you receive Social Security disability payment, you are entitled to work and earn up to the programs income limits without placing your benefits in jeopardy. That limit is currently $1,090 per month for Disability Insurance Benefits (SSI is different), and if you exceed that amount of outside earnings, your disability benefits will eventually end.

Apparently, many Republicans in Congress believe that this is a problem, and that many disabled workers on the program tailor their earnings to just come in under the limit, in spite of statistics that suggest the percentage is 0.4. They are discussing modifying the SSD program to allow a gradual phase out, rather than a complete termination, for disabled people who work part time. 

There may be merits to such a discussion, and potentially some beneficiaries may be more likely to attempt additional work. This would place fewer demands on the disability program, but the percentages would be so trivial that such a proposal would do nothing to alleviate the impending funding crisis that will occur in 2016, when the SSDI trust fund is exhausted and an approximate 20 percent cut would be necessary to all program beneficiaries.

The misunderstanding here seems to be the idea that getting SSD is a discretionary choice for most people and, as important, that they could leave the program, if only they had the proper motivation or desire.

It is true that most disabled workers would much rather be returned to health and to work, but that is unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky thinking. Most disabled workers on SSD have either some chronic disease or medical condition, or they have suffered incremental injuries over their career that leaves them unable to continue working.

For them, SSD is not an option, it is the only option.

Source:, "The Social Security Disability Program's In Trouble And Republicans Will Do... Something," Arthur Delaney, July 10, 2015

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