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Social Security disability faces tough future without action

It has been widely reported in the press that programs from the Social Security Administration face a difficult future if Congress does not act to save them from insolvency. Social Security disability is not immune to this problem, and in fact, some authorities expect the program to begin to alter the amount it pays to recipients within the next four years. For those who have been injured or become ill in New York, this could mean a reduction of benefit amounts by as much as 21 percent, by some estimates.

The Social Security disability program is federally funded, though the individual states actually administer the benefits. Injured recipients include many who have suffered back and neck pain or mental illnesses. The number of those receiving disability insurance payments for mental illnesses has increased to 32.8 percent of those receiving benefits. This is up from 10 percent of all cases filed in 1982.

There has additionally been an increase in the number of people seeking assistance from Social Security disability as a result of the recent recession. Though for some the economy is improving slowly, for those who have suffered injury or an illness, it may be difficult to return to the workforce after a long absence. In fact, nearly all of those who enter the disability program remain on it until they reach retirement age.

For those in New York who have suffered an injury or illness while working, the benefit payments offered by the Social Security disability insurance program can be invaluable. If those in need lose a percentage of their benefits, the hardship that the loss creates may be difficult to endure. However, there is a chance that Congress will act and make changes to the program that will allow benefits to remain in place for those who are in need.

Source: The New American, "Social Security Disability Recipients to Take 21-percent Cut," Bob Adelmann, June 26, 2012

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