Social Security Trustees Report Disability Trust Fund to Reach Exhaustion in 2016

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Allsup outlines considerations for people with disabilities; Congress has reallocated FICA taxes in past to continue fully funding Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

In less than three years, legislative action is needed to ensure SSDI participants continue to receive full benefits.

The Social Security Board of Trustees has released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security trust funds, citing no change from the dates it reported last year, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) representation, veterans disability appeal and Medicare plan selection services.

Trustees continue to anticipate that the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund will run out of reserves by 2033, and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund will be depleted by 2016. According to the report, “the DI Trust Fund does not satisfy the short-range test of financial adequacy.” If no changes are made, SSDI benefits would automatically decrease by 20 percent beginning in 2016.

“In less than three years, legislative action is needed to ensure SSDI participants continue to receive full benefits,” said Mike Stein, assistant vice president of claims for Allsup. “Historically, Congress has reallocated the share of FICA taxes that support the Social Security trust funds several times.”

The Social Security Administration (SSA) paid scheduled benefits of $775 billion in calendar year 2012, according to the report. In comparison, the cost to administer the program was $6.3 billion, or just 0.8 percent of total expenditures.

Short-range shortfall of the DI Trust Fund is occurring at the same time SSA is experiencing significant reductions in staffing and resources due to budgetary limitations, Stein explained. For example, the SSA ended fiscal year 2012 with 7,600 fewer permanent employees than it had at the beginning of FY 2011, according to its Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 2014.

“This has caused delayed processing times for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and reduced services to the public, such as shorter office hours and no longer mailing personal earnings and benefits statements,” Stein said.

The SSDI program is a federally mandated disability insurance program overseen by the SSA that operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. SSDI provides monthly income to individuals who meet federal requirements under the medical-evidence-based program. Workers must have paid FICA taxes to be insured under the program. Applicants must be under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and can no longer work because of a severe disability (injury, illness or condition) that is expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal.

Following are considerations for people who are concerned about their options under the SSDI program.

  • Take advantage of a Social Security disability representative such as Allsup to determine SSDI eligibility. The SSA’s strict disability adjudication and review process requires several criteria be met to receive benefits, including age, work history and medical condition and impairments.
  • Consider contacting a legislative representative. “You always have the opportunity to contact your legislator if you have strong opinions about what could be done to address the Social Security trust funds,” Stein said. Visit USA.gov and click, “Contact Government,” to find and contact elected officials, including U.S. senators and representatives, as well as state governors and legislators.
  • Closely monitor personal finances, and plan long term for disability and retirement. “A severe disability can be financially devastating,” Stein said. “The SSA estimates that a 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of becoming disabled before retirement age, so it’s critical to plan for this possibility.” Allsup offers a variety of personal finance tools and information at http://www.allsup.com/personal-finance.aspx.

To receive a free Social Security Disability Insurance evaluation, call (800) 678-3276.

ABOUT ALLSUP
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.

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Rebecca Ray
Allsup
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Sara Pierce
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