Social Security Disability Insurance provides financial assistance and help for people who cannot work due to a crucial disability. It is paid for by a Social Security Fund, which is funded by taxpayer dollars. Millions of Americans are dependent on this fund to pay rent, food and other monthly bills. Americans who work legally and pay taxes are contributing into a system that those that are permanently disabled and have certain medical conditions can take advantage of. However, there are some things that are jeopardizing the effectiveness of the program.
It is estimated that this fund will be cut drastically by 2016. The fact is that there is substantially more being taken out of the Social Security fund than there is being put into it by payroll tax contribution. More and more people who are younger and are disabled in some way are taking advantage of the program.
Also, as baby boomers get older and the life expectancy in the United States increases, senior citizens who rely on this are living longer. There is also the very real fact that some people (a very small percentage) who do not technically qualify for this program are still taking advantage of it and drawing benefits on a monthly basis, taking away from those who really do qualify and could use the benefits more.
Furthermore, the definition of who qualifies for the program, such as people with mental disabilities and psychological problems, has been expanded in the past 30 years, meaning that more people with various disabilities technically qualify for the program than in that past, when restrictions were much more rigid.
If the fund is cut by 20 percent, benefits would also be cut by 20 percent. That means there would be a $218 reduction per month to the average benefit. The average benefit would go from $1128 to $928. Social Security payments already are minimal; a reduction of that kind would be devastating financially for many individuals and families.
To be eligible for the benefits, recipients must be unable to work and support themselves. For many people, the benefits that they get mean the difference between having a place to live and being homeless. Many of these people would have to resort to relying on other government programs, such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) or vouchers. Some recipients would have to rely more on family members and loved ones for support. A number of individuals may even have to move into communal housing, such as shelters, if they are not able to meet their rent and/or other expenses. This will be particularly troubling in years to come, as health care costs and cost of living continues to rise.
However, it is possible that these benefits would not be cut in 2016. It is an election year in America, and a new policy may go into place that could prevent the cut. Some have suggested moving funds from other areas to supplement Social Security, while others have suggested that the application process should be more rigid to "weed out" those who should not be receiving benefits.
Budget cuts are only a possibility. It is unsure if it will happen or not. Social Security Disability Insurance is a permanent American program. It is not going anywhere. There will probably have to be sweeping reform in an effort to make the program run more efficiently and help the aged and disabled. However, it is an important program that allows millions of Americans to help support themselves when work is no longer and will no longer be an option. Recipients will not be completely cut off from benefits.