According to this notice from the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ (NOSSCR), the House of Representatives on January 6 passed a provision which may dramatically affect Social Security disability benefits.
The provision passed, almost entirely on party lines, with no Democrats voting for the measure and only four Republicans voting against it.
The provision regarding Social Security creates a “point of order,” essentially prohibiting discussion or votes on reallocation of the trust fund. The rule was opposed by aging and disability organizations, including AARP; the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; Social Security Works; and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
This rule creates a serious problem for attempts to alleviate a coming shortfall in the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. Based on current projections, unless Congress acts by mid-2016, Social Security will only be able to pay about 80% of disability benefits; this shortfall largely occurred because of changes to America’s population and retirement age. The House rule prevents “clean reallocation,” a solution Congress has used 11 times in the past to shift money from one trust fund to the other when shortfalls arose. The reallocations have occurred in both directions.
Clean reallocation protects people with disabilities and does not hurt retirees or survivors. NOSSCR supports clean reallocation, as do dozens of organizations representing millions of people, including the Strengthen Social Security Coalition, the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, and members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. However, it is unlikely that a Republican-led Congress will support reallocation.
It is very difficult to overcome a point of order, especially with a Republican majority, and therefore clean reallocation is unlikely. However, Congress may be able to reach another solution. NOSSCR is working with a coalition of disability and aging groups to determine the true effect of this rule, to develop a strategy to educate members of Congress and to resolve the shortfall in the Disability Insurance Trust Fund in a way that protects current and future Social Security beneficiaries.
Click here to see a Los Angeles Times editorial: On Day One, the New Congress Launches an Attack on Social Security
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If you have any questions about a Social Security disability claim or if you need an experienced attorney to represent you, please feel free to contact us at any time with questions or to schedule your absolutely free initial consultation. Attorney Steve Bradt has been successfully representing Social Security disability claimants all across northern Minnesota for more than 30 years. We are happy to assist you in any way that we can with your claim.
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