CCD Statement for the Record U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means

CCD Statement for the Record U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security Hearing on “Maintaining the Disability Insurance Trust Fund’s Solvency” 

The undersigned members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) submit the following statement for the record of the February 25, 2015 hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security, on “Maintaining the Disability Insurance Trust Fund’s Solvency”.

The CCD is a coalition of national organizations working together to advocate for federal public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration, and inclusion of the approximately 57 million children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society. SSDI’s modest but vital assistance supports these goals for approximately 11 million Americans, helping beneficiaries with disabilities and their families to meet their everyday needs -- keeping a roof over their heads, putting food on the table, paying for out-of-pocket medical and disability-related expenses, and meeting other basic living expenses. 

Congress has known for the last two decades that Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) fund will need to be replenished by 2016. The need for action now is no surprise, but stems from long-term demographic trends including an aging workforce now in its disability-prone years, and an increase in work by women that has led to an increase in women’s eligibility for Social Security including SSDI based on their own work records. 

Reallocation will ensure that SSDI is available to both current and future beneficiaries, including the 7 in 10 SSDI beneficiaries who are age 50 and older. SSDI benefits average just $38 per day for workers with disabilities. Benefits make up the majority of income for 4 out of 5 beneficiaries and provide the sole source of income for 1 in 3 beneficiaries. The impact of any reduction in benefits could be truly devastating.

Congress needs to act expeditiously, as it has done many times in the past, to reallocate existing payroll taxes between Social Security’s DI and Old-Age and Survivors’ Insurance (OASI) funds. As outlined by Social Security’s actuaries, both trust funds would be able to pay full scheduled benefits through 2033 by temporarily raising the 1.8 percent DI share of the current 12.4 percent Social Security payroll contribution to 2.8 percent in 2015 and 2016, and then gradually reducing it back to 1.8 percent by 2025. Congress has reallocated between Social Security’s funds in this manner about equally in both directions to keep the system on an even reserve ratio -- 6 times using a narrow definition of reallocation, and 11 times using a broader definition of reallocation. Reallocation does not require any new taxes and will maintain the long-term solvency of the combined Social Security trust funds at 2033, as currently projected.

Reallocation – without accompanying cuts to Social Security coverage, eligibility, or benefits -- is the common sense, responsible solution that Congress should enact promptly. Such a reallocation is needed to keep Social Security’s promise to the more than 165 million Americans who currently contribute to the system and the nearly 11 million Americans who currently receive SSDI benefits. 

Maintaining our Social Security system goes far beyond dollars and cents. It is about strengthening economic security and dignity for all Americans. Consideration of any changes to this vital system must include the voices and views of people with disabilities as well as all Americans who may need SSDI in the future. 

Sincerely,

  • ACCSES
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
  • American Association on Health and Disability
  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
  • American Network for Community Options and Resources
  • Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs
  • Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder Association
  • Autism National Committee (AutCom)
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
  • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  • Brain Injury Association of America
  • Community Legal Services
  • Council for Learning Disabilities
  • CSH
  • Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund 
  • Easter Seals
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Goodwill Industries International
  • Health & Disability Advocates
  • Jewish Federations of North America
  • Lupus Foundation of America
  • Lutheran Services in America Disability Network
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • National Association of Disability Representatives
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • National Association of State Head Injury Administrators
  • National Council for Behavioral Health
  • National Council on Aging
  • National Council on Independent Living
  • National Disability Rights Network
  • National Down Syndrome Congress
  • National Health Law Program
  • National Industries for the Blind
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
  • National Respite Coalition
  • National Senior Citizens Law Center
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • SourceAmerica
  • Special Needs Alliance
  • The Arc of the United States
  • United Cerebral Palsy
  • United Spinal Association
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