Senate Highway Trust Fund Bill Moves Forward Without Amendment to Cut Social Security Disability Insurance

The Senate Finance Committee marked up the Preserving American’s Transit and Highways (PATH) Act last week without adopting harmful amendments that threatened to cut SSDI benefits. In early July, the Senate Finance Committee took up legislation to address a shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund with the PATH Act. Senator John Thune (R-SD), along with Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), introduced two amendments to partially pay for the bill by cutting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for people who also receive Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) also co-sponsored one of the amendments. The Arc and other members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities strongly opposed the amendments, noting that SSDI and UI are separate programs established for different purposes; receipt of concurrent benefits, while rare, is both legal and appropriate. Cutting these benefits would harm the economic security of SSDI beneficiaries and their families, single out SSDI beneficiaries and treat them differently from other workers under the UI program, create disincentives to work for SSDI beneficiaries, and cut Social Security to pay for an unrelated program. Fortunately, the Senate Finance Committee marked up the PATH Act last week without adopting these harmful amendments. With different bills to shore up the Highway Trust Fund moving to the Senate and House floors, The Arc will closely monitor and oppose the potential for these amendments to be reintroduced.