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Are changes coming to the SSDI program?

A critical rule changed recently approved by the Republican-led House could be a signal that significant changes could be made to the current Social Security disability system.

No matter what political party you support, the fact is that if you are currently one of the millions of disabled workers collecting SSDI or become disabled in the coming years, there is no doubt that this and other potential changes could dramatically impact your life and the lives of your loved ones. 

Reports indicate that the House approved a rule that would change the way the SSDI program is funded. The money that is available for disability benefits is draining fast, which has happened several times before. In recent years, Congress used funds from Social Security retirement program and moved them into the disability program.

However, the new rule would prevent this from happening. What this means is that, unless the change is waived, the funding of the SSDI program could be in jeopardy. Currently, the resources available for disabled workers are already expected to start drying up next year. At that time, people's benefits could be cut dramatically and millions of people could lose critical support.

Supporters of the SSDI program are hopeful that the House rule will be waived, but even if it is, it is likely that sweeping changes to the program of some nature are on the horizon. 

While changes to the system may be inevitable, we don't know yet what those changes could look like. Until then, disabled workers and their families should understand that they can still apply for and collect critically-needed benefits in the same manner that has been in place for decades. And while the current system may be complicated, slow-moving and frustrating, applicants have the right to work with an attorney who can navigate the system and help them avoid costly delays and mistakes.

Source: Forbes, "The Coming Congressional War Over Social Security Disability," Howard Gleckman, Jan. 7, 2015

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