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What issues impact the Social Security disability programs?

Individuals in Florida and other states seeking disability benefits understand that there are some problems regarding the current Social Security disability program. While this program is designed to assist those living with disabilities, there are some constraints caused by the growing costs surrounding the program and its ability to provide for applicants approved of benefits.

Most are aware that the Social Security Trust Fund will likely be exhausted by 2022. Thus, if the current trends continue, this would trigger a sharp cut on benefits. The only true way to fix some of these problems is for lawmakers to take action. This is exactly what happened in 2015 when there was a transfer of funds from the Social Security main trust fund to the disability fund.

Some speculate that the growth in SSD recipients is due to rampant fraud; however, these numbers only account for a small portion. In fact, the recent issues with SSDI and SSI programs issued by the Social Security Administration are due to structural factors. In other words, the aging population no longer being able to work before they reach retirement age.

With regards to SSDI applicants, these are individuals who are unable to work due to a disabling injury or illness. Many of these would-be applicants choose not to return to work because the program provides many incentives to cease an substantial gainful activity in order to avoid losing these benefits. This too results in issues and exhausted funds of the SSDI program.

Therefore, it is clear that ongoing reforms to the SSD programs are necessary. There should be more incentives for recipients to return to work if possible and there should be safeguards to protect the remain funds, ensuring they go to rightfully approved applicants.

Because of the many issues experienced by the SSD programs, some applicants experience some difficulties when apply. He or she might even experience denied benefits. These challenges should not discourage applicants as there are various ways and mechanisms an applicant could still seek and receive SSD benefits.

Source: The Washington Post, "The Social Security disability program needs reform," April 8, 2017

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