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Bill introduced in US House to shore up SSDI funding

Commentators, pundits and some politicians have shown public concern for the financial pressure that the Social Security disability trust fund has been facing in recent years. When stories make the media about the Social Security Administration, the media often focuses primarily on the retirement program administered by the agency. The disability insurance program pays its benefits through a fund that runs separately from the retirement program. The SSA says that its trustees have indicated that the SSDI trust fund could become insolvent by the year 2016, or shortly thereafter.

SSDI benefits are vital for many people in Missouri. A worker pays into the system throughout his or her working life through payroll taxes. If a worker suffers a permanently disability that adversely impacts his or her ability to continue working, the safety net may provide important benefits under its design.

In recent times, several lawmakers have publicly discussed potential ways to fix the SSDI financial situation, but nothing seems to have gained traction from these public discussions. Now, two lawmakers — one from each side of the aisle — have introduced a measure in the U.S. House that seeks to create a commission to research the issues the SSA is facing and make recommendations to fix the financial stability of the agency to protect the benefits that so many workers have earned.

The idea of using a commission may not be novel. The SSA was facing financial woes in the early 1980s. A commission made recommendations back then and changes were made to shore up the system. However, the new proposal in the House seeks a more long-term solution to the current financial struggles for the SSA. The lawmakers hope that the commission can make recommendations to keep the SSA solvent for the next 75 years.

Source: Washington Post, “Congressmen propose new commission to fix Social Security,” Jonnelle Marte, May 30, 2014

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