Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 12, 2015 - The Social Security Administration (SSA) is seeking information from insurance companies and local and state government to ensure an appropriate offset of disability benefits.
In April, the SSA forwarded a proposal that, if enacted, will require states, local governments and private insurers to report workers’ compensation benefits to the agency when those benefits affect the offset of the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits that the SSA pays to disability insurance recipients. The proposal was included as part of the SSA’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Overview.
Under current law, the SSA is required to reduce an individual’s DI benefits if that person is a recipient of either workers’ compensation or public disability benefits. However, the SSA depends on the DI recipient’s voluntary reporting of his or her status to do so. The SSA proposal would make those personal reports mandatory. Further, it would allow the agency to require confirmation from third parties, such as a state government or insurance company.
“Due to the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund’s current financial bind, the SSA has likely been under enormous pressure to come up with ways to save the fund anything it can,” said David W. Magann, a prominent attorney in Tampa, Florida whose firm specializes in disability law. “And the current, fiscally conservative political climate on Capitol Hill has increased that pressure.”
The SSA’s proposal comes in the wake of mounting concern and political rancor in Washington over the financial soundness of the Social Security Retirement Trust Fund as well as the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The situation is especially dire for the disabled of America, as the SSA has predicted that the fund will be exhausted during the fourth quarter of 2016 without measures to ensure its solvency.
Officials have floated a number of proposals, including raising the payroll tax cap from its current $118,500 ceiling. Others suggest reallocating a greater share of the 6.2 percent payroll tax for the DI fund that employers and employees each contribute toward Social Security. Congress has authorized the latter measure 11 times before, but now it faces significant resistance. The Republican lawmakers currently in control of both houses of Congress are extremely hesitant to approve another reallocation of funds. And fiscal hawks have been similarly opposed to raising the payroll tax cap.
“As usual, political disputes play a major role in the fortunes of entitlement programs like Social Security,” Magann said. “It is unfortunate that a program upon which millions of disabled Americans depend to make ends meet is caught in the middle of these battles.”
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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