Adler Firm, PLLC
Free Consultation - Call 24/7

SSDI: A crisis created by Congress

The Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program is in "crisis," we are told. The time for "reform" is now, it is said. Isolated instances of fraud are touted as a "warning light." The number, $100 million is bandied about as a large number, and it is. However, not in comparison to the cost of the entire SSDI program, which has expense of $130 billion per year.

And often, these figures may be deceiving, as with the finding of $17 billion in overpayments. To generate this number, they looked at 10 years of data, during which time the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid out approximately $1.3 trillion in benefits.

Could the SSA perform better? Sure, they could. But Congress has cut budget requests for SSA in recent years, and they have had to shed thousands of employees. The entire process of examining a disability claim and any resulting additional hearings or appeals are all very labor and time intensive.

The reality is stark. Because of the already rigorous standards for receiving SSDI benefits, most of those who qualify are really far too sick to ever return to "substantial gainful activity." While there are savings to be had, those savings will require additional resources.

If SSA increased the number of continuing disability reviews (CDR) it performed, some people would be found to have improved and no longer qualify. But those CDRs are also labor intensive and Congress would have to appropriate additional funds to hire sufficient staff to enable more of CDRs.

The exhaustion of the SSDI trust fund is not due to fraud or vast numbers of people using the program as a substitute for unemployment insurance. In 1994, SSA projected that the trust fund would be exhausted in 2016 if Congress failed to act to increase funding for the program.

Congress has failed to act and the projection remains accurate today. The only "crisis" is the one of Congressional inaction. 

Source:, "Another looming crisis: Social Security Disability Insurance," Sen. James Lankford, July 6, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Request A Free Consultation

Representing Michigan injured workers since 1979.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Traverse City Office
13561 S West Bay Shore Drive
Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684

Toll Free: 888-873-7173
Fax: 231-943-2299
Map & Directions

Farmington Hills Office
30300 Northwestern Highway
Suite 304
Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Map & Directions

Adler Firm, PLLC