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Obama’s plan to save disability program challenged

If you are one of the millions of Americans who depend on Social Security Disability benefits to make ends meet, you have every right to be concerned over reports that the disability program’s trust fund is set to run out in 2016, potentially leading to major cuts in benefits.

President Obama came up with a plan to move $330 billion from the Social Security retirement trust fund to the disability program’s trust fund to temporarily put off the problem; however, Senate Republicans are taking a firm stand against the plan. 

Lawmakers are currently in primary deliberations over the president’s $4 trillion fiscal 2016 budget, and Senate Republicans are saying that the president’s plan to address the disability program’s shortage is just a short-term temporary fix.

What’s needed, they say, is a more permanent solution to the problems. At the beginning of the legislative session, House Republicans also adopted a rule that requires changes designed to strengthen the disability program to take place before retirement funds can be moved into the disability fund.

We wrote about the rule in our post here.

On the other hand, the acting Social Security commissioner said she supports the president’s plan, saying that the move to shift the $330 billion from the retirement fund to the disability fund is “consistent with past congressional actions.”

“We must take steps to insure its stability, and avoid deep and abrupt cuts or cessation of benefits for individuals with disabilities,” the acting commissioner said.

If a fix isn't agreed upon by the time the funds are set to run out, there would only be enough incoming tax revenue to cover 81 percent of scheduled disability benefits, The Fiscal Times reported.

Most disabled Americans who depend on disability benefits are barely getting by on the current benefits they receive, so a 19 percent cut could be devastating. Hopefully, lawmakers are prepared to do what it takes to keep the disabled program -- and the millions of Americans it helps -- afloat.

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