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Congress must address SSA funding

There will need to be government intervention if disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are to stay stable, according to a recent report. The Disability Insurance Trust Fund may run out money by 2016, according to SSA trustees.

“While legislation is needed to address all of Social Security’s financial imbalances, the need has become most urgent with respect to the program’s disability insurance component,” The SSA trustees wrote on the administration’s website. “Lawmakers need to act soon to avoid automatic reductions in payments to DI beneficiaries in late 2016.”

By 2016, the report said the program may only be able to pay 81 percent of the scheduled benefits. A failure to address this could end up costing individuals and families in dire need of money and help dearly.

There has been a big increase in enrollment for SSA disability over the past few years, but Congress has not changed financing for the program. NPR reports that the SSA disability insurance program is 1.8 percentage points of the overall 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax paid by companies and employees.

The Social Security program is vital to individuals who suffer debilitating injury or illness and can no longer work. The program is not well known to most Americans until they need the benefits to replace a part of their work income to support their when they lose their job. The benefits paid by the SSA are minimal and are not intended to replace all the income an individual or family may need to survive.

Receipt of disability and medical benefits may keep a family from becoming homeless. The medical benefits save lives and can often enable a person to obtain treatment and return to work. All and all, while there is a cost to the program that Congress must address, the benefit to the American society far outweighs the cost to taxpayers in maintaining the program.