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Three things families need to know about disability insurance

October 15th, 2012 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Lisa Ekman, Health & Disability Advocates Senior Policy AnalystThat’s the question posed by thought leaders at the National Academy of Social Insurance, who invited me to present and pontificate.  If you want to get your full wonk on, you can watch the whole C-SPAN video and my PowerPoint presentation on how the Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, program is vitally important for people with disabilities.

For those of you understandably pressed for time, here’s what families, and in particular, what families with a disabled relative, need to know:

  1. Disability programs are not in crisis. Although the number of people has receiving benefits increased significantly in the past, the growth won’t continue in the future.
  2. The main reasons for the growth in the disability program are demographic in nature: the aging of the baby boomers has meant they have entered their high disability years and women entering the workforce since the 1970s has meant that more women have earnings records of their own and can receive disability benefits when they are unable to perform substantial work due to their disability.
  3. It is true that the SSDI trust fund will be exhausted in 2016, but that doesn’t mean the program can’t pay any benefits. Even if Congress does nothing, the revenue from payroll taxes will allow us to pay about 80% of the currently scheduled benefits. Obviously a 20% cut would hurt people with disabilities and their families who rely on those benefits and we need to act to prevent that cut but it doesn’t mean that benefits will stop in 2016.

For more information on the state of the SSDI trust fund, see this PowerPoint: https://www.nasi.org/civicrm/file?reset=1&id=401&eid=141&type=pd

Lisa Ekman, Health & Disability Advocates

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