For disabled Ohio readers, the political back and forth between Republicans and Democrats over Social Security Disability benefits, might be disheartening. For those who are disabled, all they want to do is take care of themselves and their family, and there is often no other way without this program. Attorneys who represent the disabled understand this and are their best advocates.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio is also an advocate for the Social Security Disability program, and he recently spoke in a speech at the Center for American Progress. He openly criticized Republicans for wanting to pare down the program instead of fixing it. According to Brown, Republicans claimed that more than 100,000 people were double-dipping by collecting Social Security Disability benefits and unemployment; therefore, they suggested restricting extended unemployment benefits. The president has also talked about cutting those who are getting double benefits.
You might be wondering how someone is collecting both unemployment and Social Security Disability benefits, but SSDI still allows disabled citizens, who are able, to work as long as it is part time and their wages do not equate to a certain amount. Thus, if a disabled person is laid off, they can still collect unemployment. In 2010, it is estimated – by the Government Accountability Office – that $575 million of unemployment benefits were paid to more than 117,000 Americans, while $281 million was also paid to those same Americans in disability benefits.
Brown believes that Republicans have an idea that Social Security benefits for retirees is “good” Social Security, but Social Security for the disabled is “bad” Social Security, which is abused and used to fraud the government. He claims that there are ways to increase the revenue for Social Security funds instead of cutting benefits for Americans. One suggestion he makes is to increase the SSI tax by 0.2 percent.
Cleveland.com, “It’s time to expand Social Security, not cut it, Sen. Sherrod Brown says,” Stephen Koff, July 8, 2014.