The Flint Journal “Ask the Attorney” Column
Q. I am disabled and depend entirely upon my $900 monthly Social Security Disability check. I heard my benefits are in jeopardy. Is that true? (Jan 2015)
A. While President Obama in his State of the Union asked Congress to pass legislation guaranteeing all Americans one week of paid sick leave a year, Congressional Republicans, who now have a majority in both the Senate and the House, have been announcing very different plans to instead reduce the security of disabled Americans. Republican Senator Rand Paul, and expected presidential candidate, recently claimed that ‘half’ of the 10 million people dependent on Social Security Disability are ‘gaming the system.’ Republican Senator Coburn recently introduced a bill that will make it harder for disabled individuals, especially those under 54 yrs old, to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits; his bill would significantly reduce the amount of benefits the disabled receive and require most disabled workers to undergo repeated and frequent hurdles and reviews to keep their benefits. The money used to pay Social Security Disability Benefits comes from payroll taxes but House Republicans have just passed a procedural rule that will make it difficult for the Social Security Administration to access all Social Security trust fund monies to pay the disabled, and these monies will be needed in 2016 to pay disabled workers their full checks. Unless Congress acts to allow access to these monies, it has been widely reported that the disabled may face a 19% reduction in their payments in 2016. Politics matter. Stay informed, speak up, and let the leaders in Congress that you and your family depend upon your insurance benefits–which you paid for–through payroll taxes during your working career.
–Attorney Robert J. MacDonald