The Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund (often referred to as SSDI) is an important resource for disabled workers. Reportedly, there were almost 11 million people who received benefits in December 2014. Those benefits are in danger of disappearing, however, because the Trust Fund is running out of money as early as next year. The shortfall is expected to cut benefits by almost 20 percent, making the average monthly benefit of approximately $1,000 only about $800.
In the past, shortfalls in the Disability Insurance Trust Fund or in the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (the Social Security retirement benefit) have been addressed by reallocating money from one fund to another. However, earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a rule change that would forbid the House from transferring money between the Social Security retirement fund and disability funds.
Social Security reform is likely to be a prominent topic as presidential campaigns for 2016 elections continue to vie for attention. There are many ideas for SSDI reforms including replacing permanent benefits and continuing disability reviews with needs-based disability periods and encouraging greater use of private disability insurance.
Currently, an SSDI applicant must have a sufficient work history to qualify for benefits as well as have his or her claim reviewed by a regional Disability Determination Services office to determine whether the applicant meets the statutory definition of disability. This includes an examination of whether the applicant can participate in any substantial gainful activity (SGA), what type of physical or mental impairment exists and how long that impairment has lasted or is expected to last. Sometimes, the family members of someone receiving SSDI benefits might be eligible to receive benefits as well.
The experienced attorneys at Seelig Law Offices, LLC, can assist you with the application process for SSDI benefits as well as appeal the denial of applications. We have represented people with varied medical conditions including orthopedic conditions, neurological disorders, cancer and mental health conditions. Contact us today at (212)766-0600 for a free consultation.