The United States currently sets maximum Social Security disability benefits at $31,668 per year per approved individual. In other words, if you have been accepted for disability benefits, the most you can hope to receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is $2,639 per month. However, the average approved amount is closer to $14,016 per year, or $1,168 per month. This doesn’t seem like a lot to live on. However, considering the number of people currently receiving disability, it’s surprising the U.S. Congress hasn’t lowered the cap even more.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 56.7 million people, or 19 percent of the U.S. population, receive disability payments. The projected cost of disability claims for 2017 is expected to exceed $149 billion a month—that comes to almost a trillion dollars for the year. This presumptive amount is double that of 2012’s actual costs of $595 billion.
Where Does the Money Come From?
As with most government-funded agencies, taxes supply the majority of the funds for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. Healthy workers pay into the fund, while citizens who can’t work receive benefits. However, the scales are becoming lopsided as more disabled citizens take funds while fewer workers are available to pay into the system. As a result, the SSA predicts a bankrupt disability fund by 2027.
Present Adjustments for Future Problems
As means to delay the impending disability deficit, Congress has been working on ways to even out the scales. Unfortunately, every adjustment proposed has its disadvantages—especially for people who are currently paying into the fund. These proposals include…
- Altering the benefit formula or eligibility rules to decrease the number of eligible candidates.
- Altering the percentage of payroll taxes devoted to the disability fund.
- Altering the overall amount of payroll taxes dedicated to the fund—raising taxes to counterbalance the loss.
- Revising the disability programs on a basic level to more evenly distribute funds.
What This Means for You
The problems with the SSA fund may not be immediately apparent to your daily life. However, over the course of the next few years, whether you’re a taxpayer or disability candidate, the dwindling funds are going to affect your pocketbook or eligibility status. For more information on disability changes and guidance for protecting your future, contact our office toll-free at 800-556-8890 to speak with an experienced disability attorney.