Friday, September 13, 2013

Trouble for Social Security's other fund

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the fading Disability Insurance trust fund, and what is driving DI’s financial problems.

As a disabled man, Matthew Rini of Harwood Heights, Ill., struggles to survive on sporadic earnings as a tour guide in Chicago and about $400 a month from the Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) program. His live-in companion, Maria, helps with household expenses.

But even as Mr. Rini grapples with a deteriorating ability to work, he and millions of others face another potential woe: a looming insolvency of the SSDI trust fund, whose reserves are set to run dry in three years. Unless Congress acts, disability benefits would then be cut 20 percent.

For some SSDI recipients, the result could be grim, requiring cutbacks in food purchases or other daily necessities. But as the 2016 deadline draws near, remedies for fixing SSDI are stirring up debate, complicating the path toward a resolution and highlighting the polarized views among Americans about government-run social programs. Politically, it's a trial run for the debate over shoring up Social Security, whose combined funds are expected to be depleted in 2033.

Given the importance of DI benefits to so many and the short time until the program becomes insolvent, you’d guess that many Members of Congress would have proposed plans to fix the program. Guess again: while some outside analysts have ideas on how to reform DI, Congress is mostly silent.

Check it out here.

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