There are many people in New Jersey who receive payments from the Social Security Administration in the form of Social Security disability benefits. Many of those people may be aware that the Social Security Disability Insurance program has been facing financial difficulties for quite some time now. In fact, predictions suggest that the SSDI trust fund will be exhausted by the year 2016 if Congress does not take immediate corrective action.
If, for some reason, Congress is unable to put more cash into the SSDI program, there may be an immediate decrease of 20 percent in disability payments, which will affect more than 11 million people in the United States. Historically, Congress has been known to move funds from the retirement part of Social Security into the SSDI program. However, according to the latest reports, it seems that Congress is thinking differently this time. One reason for not shifting funds may be that the current administration is planning a complete overhaul of the SSDI program.
The SSDI program covers a wide population from diverse backgrounds. According to statistics, the SSDI program benefits approximately 9 million workers, 2 million workers’ children and 160,000 spouses. Also, 70 percent of people receiving SSD benefits are over the age of 70 and about 33 percent of recipients are over the age of 60. The average monthly income from SSD benefits is $1,150 per month, which is just over poverty level income in the United States. However, for two-person households, the monthly income is below the national poverty level of income.
There seems to be a number of reasons why the SSDI trust fund is under stress. Some people blame it on the increased eligibility age, while others attribute it to the larger eligible population. Irrespective of what the reasons for the cash-crunch are, for an SSD benefits recipient or prospective recipient, it means that the entire SSDI system is becoming more and more difficult to navigate.
Source: Forbes, “The Coming Congressional War over Social Security Disability,” Howard Gleckman, Jan. 7, 2015