In the Social Security Commission’s annual report released two weeks ago, the Commission warned of major shortfalls in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) that will result in a 19 percent reduction in benefits for 11 million disabled Americans starting in 2016 if Congress doesn’t act. Last week, I cosponsored the One Social Security Act to prevent these cuts and to help ensure individuals get the benefits they deserve.
It is critical that we preserve the guarantee associated with Social Security and continue the system in a sustainable way. This legislation would prevent 11 million disabled Americans from facing harmful cuts to their Social Security benefits without adding a penny to the deficit and without changing the overall financial standing of the program. By simply unifying the two existing Social Security funds, the One Social Security Act will prevent SSDI from running out, and ensure disabled workers get the benefits they have earned.
A 1956 law required the government to distribute Social Security in two separate funds: one triggered by retirement or death (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance–or OASDI) and the other by a severe injury or illness (SSDI). This separation makes it harder for the much smaller amount of SSDI beneficiaries to access OASDI funds, despite disabled workers having fully contributed to Social Security as a whole. As a result, Congress has periodically been forced to authorize the transfer of funds between OASDI and SSDI to ensure disabled beneficiaries get what they deserve. This legislation would merge the two funds to streamline Social Security payments and ensure that SSDI beneficiaries do not see their benefits fall in 2016.