Congress struggles to save the Social Security Disability Program

Michigan workers know that they can count on the federal government’s Social Security Disability program to help them pay for medical expenses if they are suffering from a workplace accident. However, recent testimony by Social Security Administration personnel indicates that the disability program is in a serious financial crisis that may affect everyone who is receiving benefits.

Founded in 1956, the SSDI program was signed into law by then President Eisenhower for the purpose of helping disabled Americans who were unable to work. Its goal was to help workers return to useful employment. But now after 59 years, the program pays out more in benefits than it brings in and is expected to become insolvent within the next 18 months.

According to Social Security administrators, the threatening insolvency is due to changes to the demographics of working people in the nation. Since the program’s inception, the nation has seen an increase in the number of women joining the workforce as well as the Baby Boom generation entering its senior years. This change has naturally led to increases in the number of people applying for SSDI benefits.

Critics of the program say that it has not updated its medical guidelines since the 1970s and it is these guidelines that help determine a claimant’s capacity to work. They also complain that the decisions to grant SSDI benefits are too dependent on examiners who work on the state level.

Most analysts believe that in order to prevent its collapse, Congress will take a portion of Social Security’s overall revenues and use that to fund SSDI. However, despite this precarious situation, a Michigan worker who is suffering from temporary disability may want to speak with a knowledgeable attorney with experience in SSDI in order to fully understand their options for applying for these crucial benefits.

Source: Bloomberg Business, “The disability program needs help itself“, Accessed July 20, 2015