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Democrats propose solution to fund Social Security Disability

When people are not able to work, their health and security are threatened. Most people are not independently wealthy and therefore need a regular income in order to pay for basic needs like food, shelter, utilities and healthcare. The Social Security Disability system provides benefits in the form of monthly income to people who have suffered a disability and are therefore unable to work. However, the Social Security disability system has long been under fire and its future is in jeopardy.

During this latest Congressional session, Social Security disability has been a frequent topic of discussion. Republicans, in an effort to prompt reform of the struggling system, moved to prevent funds from being transferred from the retirement fund to the disability fund. Although transferring money between the two funds to make up for shortfalls has been a common practice throughout the years when the need arises, current Republicans decided that this reallocation should not continue. In response, Democrats on the Ways and Means subcommittee for Social Security have introduced a novel idea that would ensure that both programs are funded until at least 2033. At the current rate, the disability fund is expected to run out of funds in 2016. The Democrats' proposal is simple: combine the two funds so that no transfer between the two programs is required.

The Social Security disability program is very similar to the Social Security retirement program in that both programs are funded by workers who pay into the program during their working years. The benefit of paying into the system during those years is that the workers receive income benefits when they are no longer able to work, either due to retirement and old age or a disability. Anyone with a qualifying work history and a qualifying disability is eligible to receive benefits.

There are many different types of disabilities which may qualify someone for SSD benefits. A disability could arise from a work accident or from a health condition that is non-work-related. Documenting the injury or medical condition and the resulting effects on one's ability to function or work is essential to presenting a successful claim. Applicants should be prepared to provide medical records and other evidence supporting all elements of their case.

Source: Talking Points Memo, "Could Democrats Troll Republicans Right Back on Social Security?," Daniel Strauss, May 6, 2015

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