Am I Going to Lose Benefits in 2016?

Submitted by Bryan on Tue, 03/01/2016 - 09:40

Are Disability Benefits Being Cut?

Disability benefits are available to Americans who are disabled or unable to work due to a medical condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays disability benefits to help cover the costs of everyday living expenses and medical bills. Over the years, there has always been talk of disability benefits being cut due to the lack of government funding. A recent congressional act has halted this from happening in 2016.

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

The Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which contributes to both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, was expected to run out of money by 2016. This would have resulted in a 19% cut in disability benefits for those who were receiving them.

In response to these concerns, congress enacted the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which transferred money from the Social Security Trust Fund to the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. This act ensures that no disability benefits will be cut until, at the earliest, 2022. It also keeps the payments at full benefit status and doesn’t enact any new eligibility requirements for potential applicants.


COLA Increase

For 2016, there was also no COLA increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics determines each year’s COLA, or cost-of-living adjustment. They calculate if inflation has caused the cost of living to rise in the past year, and therefore, if disability benefits need to rise too to be able to pay for those rising costs.

The COLA increase is determined by comparing the “Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers” (CPI-W) from the third quarter from the previous year to that of the current year. If the amount is the same, there is no COLA increase, and for 2016, it was.

The Future of Disability Benefits

Because of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, there is enough money to sustain our current disability benefits until 2022. While enacting this new bill, congress also recommended investigation into a new program for saving costs to make disability benefits an even more sustainable program.

Over the past 25 years, different work incentive programs have been tested with little success in saving money. Most likely, the SSA will attempt to try some variation of the BOND program, which gradually reduces disability benefits based on the amount of money a recipient earns at a job.

Another potential way to cut costs for disability benefits would be to change eligibility requirements. Potential changes could include income levels, accepted disabilities, marital or veteran status requirements, and more.

Whether the SSA implements new cost-saving programs or changes eligibility requirements, the expected 19% cut in disability benefits for 2016 was a worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 was not a long-term solution, and benefits could possibly be cut by a percentage. Keep in mind though, that after 2022, even if the SSA has not developed a successful cost-saving plan, no benefits will be cut completely.

Getting Help with Your Benefits

Consider hiring a disability lawyer or advocate to help you throughout the process of applying for benefits, appealing to the SSA if your benefits were denied, and any other help with your benefits that you may need.

Blog comments

Jeanette K. Morgan (not verified)

what money difference you recieve , in normal s.s. you receive at age 62 0r 65 and disability s.s. I do not know if I recive disability s,.s or normal s.s.. I think I should be receiving disability s.s, but was elgible for normal s.s. due to my age. aiso had to retire at age 62 due to disabilit, the s.s also had I had disability s.s., but receive regular s,s. at age 65. I receive regular s.s. due to my age in 2001, was elgible for disability due to mental, illness, decrease mobility, rhematoid and osteoarthris all over my bodyin i998 had to retire could no longer due my job. as a registered nurse due to arthrtis, rematoid, and osteoarthritis, all over my body, decrease mobility, and depression, and anxiety

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 14:24 Permalink

In reply to by Jeanette K. Morgan (not verified)

Hi Jeanette,
There will be no difference in your benefit amount if you are getting SSDI benefits and your benefits convert to retirement benefits at full retirement age.

Thu, 04/14/2016 - 09:51 Permalink
moto (not verified)

In reply to by Jeanette K. Morgan (not verified)

sorry to hear all that is wrong with you I have many of the same ailements and I can not get jack shit. nothing so instead I hobble around my job hoping to no get fired because half the stuff I'm expected to do I physically can't. a Dr note will not do anything either.

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 19:27 Permalink
Monica (not verified)

My daughter receives benefits, because I receive benefits. Her doctor and school listed her as being disable. When I went to apply for he to receive disability benefits I was denied twice. I was told that our household income exceeds the state standards. I have a neighbor who has 2 kids and they receive it plus her and her spouse also receives disability. There children have the same disabilities that my child have. Why is this any different than my child? There household exceeds are greater than my household.

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 15:44 Permalink

In reply to by Monica (not verified)

Hi Monica,
The income thresholds for a family with two children may be higher than a household with only one child. This may be why you were determined to have income over the state's threshold for eligibility.

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 16:31 Permalink
will lester (not verified)

In reply to by Monica (not verified)

thats one of the problems with the system that children get benefits. disability should be for adults who need to care for themselves. parents should take care of their own children. i know of course you need the money, and i'm sure they will never change the system, i'm just saying thats one of the things that are wrong with it.

Sun, 08/28/2016 - 02:08 Permalink

In reply to by will lester (not verified)

Hi Will,
Thank you for sharing! Of course, there are many families with children whose disabilities are a financial burden, and that's why these benefits are provided.

Mon, 08/29/2016 - 09:14 Permalink

In reply to by Peg (not verified)

Hi Peg
There may be no difference in your benefit amount if you are getting SSDI benefits and your benefits convert to retirement benefits at full retirement age.

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 16:00 Permalink
Rob (not verified)

I just got a letter from social security that my benefits will stop due to the change in how social security benefits are determined. They will stop may 2017.

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 14:32 Permalink

In reply to by Rob (not verified)

Hi Rob,
I'm sorry to hear that! You may want to contact your local SSA office for more details as to why they would terminate your benefits.

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 15:45 Permalink

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