There are many hot button political issues generating headlines these days. One of the most prominent is the one dealing with the Social Security Disability Insurance program and how it’s going to be kept alive.
As we noted in a post about a month ago, Republicans now controlling Congress launched what many see as a first salvo by adopting a new rule effectively seeking to end a practice of bolstering the trust fund that feeds SSDI. Under that model, funds from the trust fund that feeds retirement benefits were shifted to ensure disability fund reserves.
Citing issues with alleged fraud, Republicans say they want to stop raiding the one fund to pay for the other. They also say the rule change should pressure the Obama administration to commit to finding a solution sooner than later for the fact that the disability trust fund will be so tapped at some point in 2016 that it won’t be able to accept new claims for benefits and current beneficiaries will have to endure cuts of about 20 percent.
The president’s response has been to propose a plan that appears to be based a bit on the old adage that you have to spend money to make money.
Specifically, he is recommending a reallocation of trust funds as has happened a lot in the past so lawmakers have more time to find a long-term solution. But his plan also calls for a specific budget allocation so the Social Security Administration would be able to dedicate more effort to performing reviews of beneficiaries. The administration says that would cut fraud and ensure that those who are eligible get their benefits.
Republicans say the president’s plan is an unacceptable kicking of the can down the road. But SSA officials say they haven’t been able to focus the attention they would like on disability reviews because of budget cuts in recent years and they estimate that for every $1 spent they would be able to save $9.Â
What do you think? Does the president’s idea stand any chance? Should it?