On Wednesday, June 19, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on encouraging work through the Social Security Disability Insurance program. The hearing will take place in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building beginning at 10:00 am.
The hearing will examine the impact of the disability insurance program on the economy, efforts by Social Security to return individuals to work, efforts internationally to return individuals to work, and other options to encourage work. To read more visit the Subcommittee website.
The Social Security Trustees have released their annual report on the current and projected financial status of the Social Security trust funds. Similar to 2012, the 2013 findings show that Social Security is fully solvent until 2033, but faces a moderate long-term shortfall. In 2012, Social Security took in roughly $54 billion more than it paid out. Its reserves were $2.73 trillion in 2012, and are projected to grow to $2.9 trillion by the end of 2021. If Congress does not act before 2033, the reserves would be drawn down, and revenue coming into the Trust Funds would cover about 77 percent of scheduled benefits. The 2013 Report also continues to project that the Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund by itself can pay all scheduled benefits until 2016. If Congress takes no action before 2016, the Trustees project that the DI trust fund will be able to pay about 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
As noted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Academy of Social Insurance, the long-term growth in DI has been predicted since the mid-1990s and is largely due to demographic factors. The U.S. population and the number of workers insured for DI have grown; on average, Americans are living longer but with more disability; and the baby boomers are now in their high disability years.
Traditionally, Congress has reallocated payroll tax revenues between the OASI and DI trust funds to address projected shortfalls. According to the Social Security Chief Actuary, a modest reallocation of the total OASDI payroll tax, enacted prior to 2016, would allow both programs to pay full scheduled benefits through 2033 — their current combined depletion date. After that, modest increases in revenue can ensure the long-term solvency of the Social Security system for generations to come. The Arc strongly supports these types of adjustments to ensure the short- and long-term solvency of the trust funds, so that Social Security can remain a lifeline for people with disabilities and their families for generations.
The CR passed by the House and Senate includes $27 million for the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program and $7 million for the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program. Since their inception, WIPA and PABSS have provided essential support to help Social Security and SSI disability beneficiaries attain self-sufficiency through work. The authorization of appropriations for the PABSS and WIPA programs expired on September 30, 2011. The Social Security Administration set aside funding to sustain the PABSS program until September 30, 2012 and the WIPA program until June 30, 2012, but did not continue to fund the programs after those dates. Funding under the CR will allow the restarting of the programs.
The House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on “Financing Challenges Facing the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.” Witnesses were Joyce M. Manchester, Ph.D., Chief, Long-Term Analysis Unit, Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis Division Congressional Budget Office and Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration. Visit the Committee web site to view testimony and archived video.
The House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security has rescheduled its hearing on “Financing Challenges Facing the Social Security Disability Insurance Program” for March 14. Visit the Committee web site for more information and to view testimony and video on the day of the hearing.
On March 7, the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on “Financing Challenges Facing the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.” Visit the Committee web site for more information and to view testimony and video on the day of the hearing.
The House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security held the fifth hearing in a series on securing the future of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The hearing looked at options to address the key structural and fiscal challenges facing the program. The Arc’s Marty Ford testified on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force. Her testimony emphasized the vital importance of SSDI for people with significant disabilities and recommended a variety of ways to strengthen SSDI to enhance opportunities and outcomes, and to secure its financial future. Visit the Committee web site for written testimony and video from the hearing.
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing on its investigation of the Social Security Administration’s disability programs. As stated in the hearing notice, the Subcommittee examined “issues related to the quality of disability benefit awards involving 300 case files of claimants under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplement Security Income (SSI) programs involving initial applications and subsequent levels of appeal.” The Committee issued a Minority Staff Report summarizing its findings and recommendations, and has indicated that it plans to continue to review and examine the Social Security disability programs. Visit the Committee web site for hearing materials and video.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bank of America N.A. have announced a settlement to resolve allegations that Bank of America violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act for discriminating against home loan applicants who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The bank had asked applicants to provide details of their medical conditions and required a letter from their doctor documenting their SSDI income. Under the settlement, Bank of America has agreed to revise its policies on documenting disability income, hold employee trainings, and pay monies to the loan applicants who were affected by the alleged misconduct. The bank will hire a third party administrator to search approximately 25,000 loan applications involving SSDI income to identify any other victims.