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Urges Congress to Immediately Reallocate Funds Within Program to Avoid Disability Shortfall 

B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

The 2015 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report has been released and B’nai B’rith International is pleased to see continued stability in the program, but we are still concerned, as we were last year, about the immediate need to address the funding challenges facing the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program.

This year’s trustees report estimates that in 2016 the DI will only be able to pay about 80 percent of its benefits with its allocation of Social Security’s income. This can be easily addressed, as it has been nearly a dozen times before, in a bipartisan fashion by changing the allocation proportions slightly. This would put the two parts of Social Security back on an even footing where neither would face a shortfall before 2034.  

B’nai B’rith International urges Congress to increase the DI’s allocation from the payroll tax or consider combining it with the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) fund into a single fund. The administrative separation of the funds has created an artificial danger to Social Security DI beneficiaries and could be fixed with reunification.

Also on July 22, Rep. Xavier Becerra introduced legislation to do just that, which would eliminate the fear and uncertainty DI recipients now have about a looming cut in their earned benefits. Eleven million people—70 percent of them ages 50 and older, and 10 percent veterans–collect Social Security benefits because of disability while the rest of Social Security’s benefits are paid to retirees and survivors. 

We must act, as potential cuts should not threaten vulnerable people while we debate broader Social Security issues. The Social Security program is strong, and the trustees continue to report the combined OASI-DI fund will face no short fall until 2034. We should work to extend that date, but we cannot do so at the expense of providing adequate benefits now. In fact, several bills already introduced in Congress this session would make modest expansions, while still extending the overall solvency date beyond 2034.