The Committee on Ways and Means recently held its second hearing as part of its effort to strengthen the Social Security disability program. The first hearing in the program – titled “Securing the Future of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program” – focused on the creation of this cash benefit program for those who could no longer work due to a disability. The second and most recent hearing focused on combating waste, fraud and abuse.
According to Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee, “[o]ver the past four decades, disability program costs have soared from $18 billion to $124 billion as the number of those receiving benefits has more than tripled from 2.7 to 9.7 million. The size of the overall workforce, more women in the workforce, the aging of the baby boomers into their disability-prone years, and relaxed eligibility requirements have all contributed to this growth.”
A statement issued by Johnson on behalf of the Committee indicated that the continued growth of the Social Security disability program is placing an enormous strain on the program and, according to the 2011 Trustees’ Report, the SSDI program will be unable to pay full benefits beginning in 2018, unless there is Congressional action to address the problem. Moreover, Johnson noted that the expansion of the program has increased the amount of waste, fraud, and abuse of the program, as well.
Increased accuracy will have a considerable impact on the system. In fact, Johnson’s statement indicated that for every one tenth of one percent that the SSA improves its payment accuracy, it can afford to pay disability benefits for a full year to nearly 5,300 people.
Some government officials have argued that the minimum wage for individuals to receive Social Security retirement benefits should be raised, with others arguing that the entire Social Security system should be scrapped in favor of private insurance accounts. Johnson, however, suggested that, through periodic reevaluations of beneficiaries and the Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) program, the Social Security disability program can be strengthened by increased accuracy. The Cooperate Disability Investigation Program is designed to prevent fraud before it occurs by working with State Disability Determination Services and state or local law enforcement. According to the Committee, the program has resulted in $3.1 billion in disability program savings since 1998.
As an experienced Chicago social security disability law firm, Ankin Law, LLC promotes strengthening the Social Security Disability program through increased accuracy, as well as increased efficiency through streamlined claims processes so that eligible beneficiaries receive their benefits quickly. If you are unable to work as a result of a medical condition, contact us.
Ankin Law at (312) 313-1727 to learn more about social security disability benefits.