Posted on Jan 11, 2015

Payments to current and future Social Security Disability beneficiaries will be reduced to 81% of the current amount unless Congress does something to address the deficiency in the Trust fund in 2016. Well, the House of Representatives did something  but not the right thing, by issuing as one of its procedural rules. to prevent a simple fix by transferring funds between the trust funds as had been done eleven times in the past.. The new rule enacted by the House Republican caucus prohibits the reallocation unless it's accompanied by "benefit cuts or tax increases that improve the solvency of the combined trust funds," as paraphrased by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

The rule change reflects the burgeoning demonization of disability recipients, a trend the LA Times reported on in the past  it's been fomented by conservative Republicans and abetted by sloppy reporting by institutions such as NPR and "60 Minutes." 

Previous reallocations also have hurt disability's funding, including a shift from disability toward the old-age program in 1983 and an inadequate shift back in 1994. "If DI’s tax rate had remained at its pre-1983 level," Ruffing a scholar writes, "we wouldn’t need to replenish the fund today."

Do House Republicans understand any of that? It's doubtful. If they did, they'd understand that their actions Tuesday are nothing short of shameful.   Michael Hiltzik on the LA Times writes, "What a way to begin a new Congress."


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Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska