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THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS

THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY PROGRAM IS GROWING

The Social Security Disability program has seen significant growth in both costs and the number of beneficiaries in the last 25 years. Since 1990, the working-age population receiving disability benefits has more than doubled—from about 1 in 40 individuals to about 1 in 20. Government spending on the Social Security disability program has doubled since 2000.  Some of this growth is due to aging baby boomers applying and receiving disability benefits.  Some of the growth is due to a greater number of  women becoming part of the workforce. Also, the Social Security program is growing because the retirement age is slightly increasing over the past decade.

About one-third of the drop in labor force participation from 2007 to 2013 is due to 2.1 million more Americans going on Social Security Disability Insurance.  This may be because individuals turned to the program as early retirement and long-term unemployment program,  particularly during the recession. The problem with this is that when those with marginal or temporary disabilities succeed in getting on benefits, they tend to stay in the program. Subsequently, over time their work skills erode.  As individuals age, it also becomes more difficult to find a job.

HOW WILL THE SSA ADDRESS THE TRUST FUND SHORTFALL?

How will our government address the impending SSA trust fund shortfall.  First, the SSA has already spent significant amounts of money attempting to root out fraud in the program (although there is very little evidence that they have done anything more than waste resources and time). Second, they have also attempted to manipulate the administrative law system by reviewing every ALJ decision (both favorable and unfavorable) throughout the nation. This places a judge’s decision in the hands of a non-lawyer and the non-lawyer reviews the case for conformity, rather than merit.

The SSA’s efforts are misplaced. The SSA should consider replacing permanent benefits with a period of disability that better reflects the individual’s disabling condition and acknowledges the possibility of future work capacity.   Disability benefits should not be eliminated or replaced. However, Congress should acknowledge that many people have temporary disabilities and they could return to the workforce if given vocational rehabilitation and the incentive to do so.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY AND YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR BENEFITS

If you work and pay taxes, you are eligible for Social Security Disablity benefits. However, you have to have enough work that you get credit toward the SSD program. For example, if you work one month per year, you will not obtain enough credit to be eligible for benefits.

For most people, eligibility requires at least 20 work credits during the past 40 quarters prior to the onset of your disability. Another way to put this would be you need earn at least 20 quarters of coverage within a 10 year period prior to the onset of disability. During a quarter of coverage, an employee pays Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes. Each year has four quarters. So, you have 4 chances each year to obtain a quarter of coverage. In 2021, you must earn $1470 in one quarter to obtain a quarter of coverage.

Social Security Disability is an insurance program. One that you work for. You pay into this program over your working life. All workers who pay taxes pay into the program. Therefore, if you can no longer work, when you apply for disability benefits it isn’t welfare. The benefits are not a handout from the state or the federal government. It is money that you worked for and that belongs to you if you can no longer work. That is why the government should not eliminate the disability program. The program belongs to the workers who pay, through their work, for the benefits. You can find out if you qualify for SSD benefits by creating your account at www.ssa.gov.

CANNON DISABILITY LAW CAN HELP YOU WIN SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS IN UTAH AND NEVADA

Cannon Disability specializes in winning Social Security Disability benefits. For the past 30 years, our legal team has focused exclusively on disability benefits. Our main office is in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, we also practice in Nevada, Idaho, and California. We have lawyers that are admitted to the bar in all of these states.

Because we have been in business for so long, we have extensive experience. We have won over 20,000 disability cases. We can help you win your benefits too. However, it is important to remember that winning a disability case is a team effort. Our legal team cannot prepare your case without your help.

For example, we don’t automatically have access to your medical records. You need to provide us with that information and then give us permission to access your records. We also can’t fill out Social Security forms for you, because we don’t know how your pain effects you. Also, we don’t know how your mental impairments may keep you from being a reliable employee. That is why we say that hiring us is hiring a legal team. One you can count on.  Contact Cannon Disability Law today for your free consultation.

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