On April 9, Social Security Administration representatives gave a House subcommittee sobering news about the disability program’s financial status. The Social Security disability program is scheduled to begin having shortfalls in 2016. The agency has been reviewing cases to find opportunities to save money. However, an agency representative said that they could clear all of their backlogged reviews and that still wouldn’t prevent the 2016 shortfalls.
Chicago lawyer Howard Ankin said he is deeply concerned about the matter. As an advocate for the disabled, he knows how important Social Security disability payments are for those who may not be able to fully provide for themselves. He added, “The financial situation in the disability program is largely a result of mismanagement. I know the subcommittee is working to address the issue, but I’m concerned that it’s too little too late.”
The subcommittee is led by Representative James Lankford of Oklahoma and has been tasked with the challenge of resolving the fiscal instability in the Social Security disability program. Much of the subcommittee’s efforts have been focused on eliminating fraud and reviewing cases to find situations in which Social Security payments are no longer appropriate.
Those situations could include ones in which a person has made a recovery from their condition or injury. It could also involve a situation in which a person has trained for and embarked on a career that they’re able to perform with a disability. Many children receive disability payments for conditions which they’re expected to outgrow over time.
However, a representative from the agency said that budget cuts have left Social Security short-handed and unable to keep up with review demands. For example, the representative said that more than 6,000 children currently receive benefits for conditions that were only expected to last 12 to 18 months. Many of those cases haven’t been reviewed in more than six years.
Howard Ankin says that it’s time for Congress to take bold action on the issue. He said, “While reviews are important, we need to address the program’s funding. Until we do that, this will always be a problem.”