Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 29, 2015 - President Barack Obama on Nov. 2 signed into law a two-year budget agreement that includes significant fixes to the financially troubled Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI).
According to government officials, the SSDI program will receive the necessary funding to allow it to offer full benefits for the next three years at least. More funds will be shifted from the Social Security retirement program into disability by adjusting the way payroll tax revenues are distributed. Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin said without the proposed relocation, the program would only be equipped to pay around 79 percent of benefits.
SSDI Trustees had predicted SSDI would run out of money by the end of 2016, forcing a nearly 20 percent cut in benefits. The $150 billion program annually supports nearly 11 million disabled people who are unable to work.
“Although the SSDI program is indispensable to so many disabled Americans, it has fallen victim to fraud and lack of oversight. Overpayments and other issues have jeopardized the program’s financial stability,” said David W. Magann, a prominent attorney in Tampa, Florida, whose firm specializes in Social Security disability law.
Additional disability investigative units will be formed with the goal of tracking down people who may be abusing the system. Their use will be expanded to all 50 states by 2022. Penalties for fraud will be increased and a medical review will be required before benefits are awarded.
The budget deal will also allow for the hiring of enough administrative law judges to clear a backlog of thousands of disability benefit denial appeals. Some cases have taken as long as two years to decide. The number of judges handling disability cases will be increased from the current 1,450 to 1,925 by 2017.
“Such measures will help to keep viable a program that is important to so many people who depend on it. The challenge is to eliminate waste and fraud in the system along with controlling costs so that the benefits go to disabled adults who actually need them,” said Magann.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
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