As many of our Ohio clients know, the process to obtain Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits is anything but straightforward. The complicated application requires a great deal of information concerning a worker’s disability, with supporting medical documentation and additional information concerning their work experience and educational history.
All of this process is designed to ensure that those who receive SSDI benefits are genuinely disabled and truly eligible to receive those benefits. Some may even suspect that the process is as complex and convoluted as it is to cause many applicants with valid disability claims to abandon them, because it is just too time-consuming and stressful.
And we certainly have clients who come to us for legal assistance in filing their claim or dealing with the appeals process for a claim that has been denied. If this is part of the SSA’s plan, it has not worked very well, as the number of beneficiaries of SSDI has grown substantially over the last decade or so.
However, in the last year, according to a news article by the Wall Street Journal, the number of beneficiaries receiving SSDI payments has stabilized at about 10.9 million Americans. This would be good news for the Trustees of the SSA programs, as calculations have suggested that the SSDI trust fund could be exhausted within the next couple of years.
Congress could solve this issue by stepping in and adjusting the funding to adequately deal with the issue, but given the polarization in Washington, the fund may have to be fully exhausted before it spurs Congress to action.
The leveling off of the growth of the program may buy it some more time, which is good news for any one receiving SSDI, as failure by Congress to deal with the funding problems with the program would mean the program would have to make cuts to beneficiaries.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Has Social Security Disability Enrollment Hit Plateau?” Damian Paletta and Josh Zumbrun, Apr 16, 2014