(Washington, D.C.) – Our Generation applauds the efforts of Congress to pass legislation to fix the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Today, Congress is considering, H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, this legislation includes significant reforms to fix the SSDI program. If this legislation passes, it will be the most significant reform to the Social Security Program since 1983. The bill would put the program on a path toward meeting its financial obligations and making the program solvent, without threatening seniors and the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund.
For nearly three years, Our Generation was the lone voice that in Washington D.C. to compel Congress to reform SSDI in meaningful ways, and now Congress is posed to act. In 2012, Our Generation launched the “Reform SSDI Now” project, an aggressive national campaign to educate Americans about the rising costs of the Social Security Disability Insurance program. The program underscored how waste, fraud, and abuse harm taxpayers. The campaign also educated lawmakers and provided citizens with information to understand the crisis and the tools to demand action and real reform from policy makers—including compelling reports on this crucial issue and an online-action center to contact members of Congress and report fraud in the SSDI system.
“It is clear that Congress has heard our calls for reforms, and if this budget deal becomes law, taxpayers across the country win,” said Our Generation Executive Director M. MacMillin Slobodien. “Our Generation applauds the actions of Congress to seek changes that would reform this program in meaningful ways. For the first time in decades Congress has a real opportunity to reform a program that is fraught with waste fraud and abuse and threatens the retirement security of seniors. Our Generation urges Congress to pass this legislation.“
Proposed reforms in the legislation would improve Social Security’s long-term actuarial balance by $168 billion and improve the Disability Trust Fund balance by over six percent. The trust fund was set to run out of money in 2016. Our Generation has advocated for many of the reforms in the proposed. The reforms would:
- Increase solvency by prohibiting an unconditional bailout of the DI Trust Fund.
- Combat disability fraud and strengthen taxpayer protections by expanding fraud-preventing Cooperative Disability Investigation unit, prohibiting evidence from sanctioned or unlicensed doctors from being used to determine eligibility; creating new felony charges for conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud; and increasing criminal and civil penalties for those in positions of trust who defraud Social Security
- Increase oversight by requiring medical experts review all disability cases before awarding benefits and ensuring the nationwide consistency and integrity of the DI program by making it clear that disability examiners cannot award benefits if a physician or psychologist has not signed off on the case.
- Close costly, unintended Social Security loopholes that grow spending.
- Increase work incentives
- Improve solvency by not allowing re-allocations from the OASI trust fund to SSDI trust fund, making SSDI meet its obligations through 2022.
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