SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY AT RISK OF COLLAPSING

2One important issue that has been making the headlines in many news reports is the Social Security disability finance crisis. The program is currently being bombarded by applications from people who are part of the Baby Boomer generation. While this generation continues to age, so does the number of disabled individuals. The influx of claims coming through the processing center of this unstable program is pushing the system toward insolvency.

The amount of applications coming through is up almost 50% from the regular volume received 10 years ago. Over the past several years, millions of jobs have been eliminated in the tough economy. Many people who have disabilities have lost their jobs and can't find new ones. The heightened demand for benefits is also contributing to a backlog of applicants. Since most cases usually take two years or more to resolve, the financial problems are worsening even more. This program has already been in the red for several years, so the current state of its finances isn't a complete shock.

Recent estimates from Congress show that the trust fund supporting Social Security disability will run out of funds by 2017. This means that the program won't be able to pay full benefits without actions from Congress. In addition to this, the Social Security retirement fund is expected to run out of funds in fewer than 30 years. Most of the focus in Washington is aimed toward fixing Social Security's retirement system. Raising retirement age, using means-testing benefits for the wealthy and other similar proposals have been presented. However, the system is in so much trouble that there are no easy solutions.

Although it would only provide short-term relief from the problem, Social Security trustees are asking Congress to reallocate money from the retirement system to the disability system. Similar actions were taken in 1994. During that year, Congress approved reallocation of enough funds to build up the disability system. However, the problems faced today are much more extensive because of the economic situation, mismanagement of funds and increased aging population.

Disability benefit claims usually increase during any economic hardship. This is because many people who are disabled get laid off and can't find a new job. During 2011, experts predict that nearly 3.3 million people will attempt to obtain disability benefits. This figure is 700,000 more than what was reported in 2008.

There are about 13.6 million people who currently receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. Supplemental Security Income is intended for those who don't have a work history. There are strict limits assessed for income and assets. The average monthly SSI disability payment is $500. Social Security is intended for individuals who have a considerable work history. The average monthly amount for Social Security disability payments is $927.

Although they're not the root of the problem, there are two other issues hindering people with disabilities from getting the money they need. First, the system doesn't have a flawless process for verifying disability. Many people who don't fully qualify for benefits are already receiving them. The application process is also very difficult, and nearly 70% of all initial applications are rejected.

The bottom line is that the system is running out of money. There is no quick fix or easy way to solve such a long-term problem. What is most important for each individual who needs a reliable source of disability income is to consider a more trustworthy source. Since governmental resources are spiraling downward and becoming increasingly less reliable, it's time to start looking at private options. Federal resources might be nonexistent in less than 30 years, so the time to take action is now. The best way to find reliable private options is to speak with an individual broker. In such a tough economy, it's best to work with people who have the best interest of their clients in order.

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