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Social Security Disability, SSI and Disability — Current Status

​There has been a lot of news lately about disability. Unfortunately, not a lot of what has been report is accurate and it certainly does not give the whole picture. Social Security Specialist — Susan O’Malley “The Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program provides modest but vital benefits to workers who become unable to perform substantial work on account of a serious medical impairment. Although some critics charge that spending for the program is “out of control;” the bulk of the rise in federal disability rolls stems from demographic factors: the aging of the U.S. population, the growth in women’s employment, and Social Security’s rising retirement age. Other factors – including the economic downturn – also have contributed to the program’s growth, but its costs and caseloads are generally in step with past projections. There is little evidence that DI benefits are going to people who could support themselves by working.” -Testimony of Kathy A. Ruffing, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities before the Subcommittee on Social Security on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives. An individual has to prove they are disabled within Social Security’s strict guidelines. There has to be medical documentation of a medical condition before Social Security will consider it under a disability claim. There is still a long wait to get a hearing. The denial rates in this part of North Carolina at the pre-hearing levels are close to 90%. The “modest benefits” paid by Social Security do not compare to what someone could earning in the work force. It is illogical to believe that someone would go that long, pass Social Security’s strict guidelines, to get that little if they did not absolutely have to. The 2013 report of the status of the Social Security fund indicates that it can continue to pay benefit at one hundred percent through 2033. After that is would be able to pay at seventy seven percent. However, the reserves for the fund are expected to run out in 2016. The depletion does not mean that the trust fund cannot make any payments in 2016. Congress does need to address the funding so that the program can continue. Congress has been anticipating that the reserves would be depleted in 2016 since 1994. Contact your congressman and ask what they intend to do to address funding Social Security in the future. If you need to discuss a disability claim contact our office. O'Malley Tunstall

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