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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Legislations Introduced to Save Social Security Disability Insurance from Bankruptcy

ARRA News Service: Today, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) introduced the Return to Work Act of 2017 in the House of Representatives. The bill would reform the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Program by modernizing the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) classification of disability beneficiaries and incentivizing returning to work for beneficiaries who have recovered.

According to the Congressional Research Service, many disability insurance beneficiaries will never re-enter the workforce, and, in 2013, only 0.4 percent of all beneficiaries were removed from disability rolls due to employment. Between 1981 and 2013, the employment rate among working-age individuals with work-limiting disabilities fell nearly in half, from 24.4 percent to 14.4 percent. Senators Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Mike Lee (Utah), and Marco Rubio (Florida) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

After introduction of the bill, Hill, Cotton, Lee, and Rubio released the following statements:
“SSDI was developed to be a safety net for those who suffer from a permanent, debilitating disability and to provide temporary assistance for those with a recoverable illness or disability while they heal, but disincentives to work and delays in continuing disability reviews have resulted in disabled individuals forgoing employment to remain on the program and maintain much needed benefits. In order to ensure that SSDI will continue to aid those who need it most and promote work for those willing and able, SSDI needs to be reformed. This bill is the type of reform that will keep the program solvent by helping those with recoverable illnesses and disabilities live full and independent lives by returning to the workforce. I am pleased to be joined by Senators Cotton, Lee, and Rubio in promoting this smart reform of this crucial program.” – Congressman French Hill

“We shouldn’t resign people with treatable conditions to a lifetime of sitting on the sidelines. If they can get back to work, then by all means we should help them. That’s why we’ve got to fix this program so it takes into account people’s different capabilities. This will not only save the program, which is dangerously close to going bankrupt; It will save our aid for the people who need it most.” – Senator Tom Cotton

“We can’t keep stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund to bail out the Social Security Disability Insurance system. We need real reforms that will both make it easier for recovering Americans to return to work and make the program solvent.” – Senator Mike Lee

“Social Security Disability Insurance is supposed to be a safety net for people with disabilities. However, rampant abuse, lax enforcement and insufficient accountability have enabled this program to grow unchecked and prevented many people from going back to work. The health of our national economy and strength of our communities depend on able-bodied Americans earning paychecks. This legislation represents a long overdue reform that takes care of working Americans and saves our social safety net for the truly disabled.” – Senator Marco Rubio
Background: The SSDI program has grown more than six-fold from $20 to $137 billion (in 2012 dollars) since 1970. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries who leave the program to return to work has dropped from nearly six percent in 1982 to less than one half of one percent in 2013. The Return to Work Act would require disability determiners to classify new beneficiaries based on whether medical improvement is expected.

Beneficiaries who are expected to recover would be given a timeline and additional resources to obtain employment while on SSDI. These beneficiaries will also be able to reapply if they have not recovered. Beneficiaries who are not expected to recover will have no timeline for program participation.

Tags: Return to Work Act of 2017, Legislation, to save, Social Security Disability Insurance, from Bankruptcy, Rep. French Hill, Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Marco rubio  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 5:15 PM - Post Link

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