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Disability beneficiaries reach all time high

CNSNews reports disability beneficiaries are now at an all-time high in the United States, rising from a 10,981,423 in March to a whopping 10,996,447 in April of this year. This data, released from the Social Security Administration (SSA), shows the United States disability benefits roles now eclipse the populations of several small countries including Greece, Tunisia and Portugal. Next, the number of disability recipients could eclipse the population of Cuba which is 11,047,251.


Who are the disability beneficiaries?


According to the disability roles, we have 8,942,232 disabled workers, 153,475 spouses of disabled workers, and 1,900,740 children of disabled workers receiving SSDI or SSI benefits. Each of these disability beneficiaries is eligible to receive a certain amount of money each month.

The number of disabled workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits reached an all-time high in December. The number rose to 8,942,584 in December, with 352 more workers receiving disability than in April.

Future solvency of disability benefits


 

There are growing concerns about the solvency of disability benefits. According to the SSA, “projections for the Disability Insurance program show increasing costs and declining trust fund income, leading toward insolvency of the DI trust fund.”

The greatest concern for the SSA remains the increasing number of disability beneficiaries relative to the number of workers paying into the system. This means the number of disability beneficiaries will be increasing faster than workers.

For instance, in 1970 we had 100 workers for every 3 disability beneficiaries. Now there are 4.8 disability beneficiaries for every 100 workers. By 2030 this rate could increase to 6.8, which is a forty percent increase from 2004. The same is true in the retirement program, although at even higher rates of dependency. The SSA believes the rates are increasing due to the aging population as an increased number of disability beneficiaries.

Trust funds face insolvency by 2027


 

If no changes are made to the disability insurance trust fund the SSA believes the program will run out of money by 2027. According to the SSA, “The Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund, which funds the Medicare program, will be exhausted even earlier, in 2020.” Unfortunately, instead of reining in costs over the last several years, the costs of the programs have increased, which has had an adverse impact on program solvency.

What can be done to improve solvency for disability benefits?


 

Although no one in Congress seems to have the stomach or guts to address the growing issues surrounding disability benefits, specifically Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare, there are some steps which should be done immediately to ensure the programs remains solvent.

First, Congress needs to alter the benefit formula or eligibility. Next they could increase payments through payroll taxes. Finally, they may need to overhaul the entitlement programs. This wouldn’t be the first time updates were made to the programs. In fact, changes to the programs were made most recently in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

If you know someone who is receiving SSDI or SSI benefits and should not be, contact the SSA and report the fraud. It’s important to protect this benefit for those who are truly disabled and who cannot work.

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