The Social Security disability insurance trust fund is running out of money some time between 2016 and 2017 and some people are wondering why.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, back in 2013 disability claims were skyrocketing, jumping up 29 percent. The number of Americans receiving social security disability benefits soared to 8.8 million. As of the end of the end of 2013 the Social Security Administration (SSA) says the number of people receiving benefits was 8,942,584, which is almost three percent of the entire US population. The data also revealed the SSA paid out over $773 billion in benefits after receiving only $725 billion, leaving a deficit of nearly $48 billion, despite the funds being designed to be self-sustaining. The only good news is that while disability applications are still coming in the volume is decreasing in number.
The reasons for the Social Security disability fund running out of money have become a political dispute. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma claimed Social Security disability fraud was running rampant:
“Probably a third of everybody on disability, there’s no way that they’re disabled…. It’s nauseating.”
Organizations like the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force claim about 57 million Americans, or roughly one-sixth of the population, live with the inability to fully function and 38 million are said to have a “severe affliction.” Of course, I’m fairly skeptical of this claim not only because the numbers seem unusually high but because it’s used by lawyers, and I say this as someone who could be considered partially disabled.
So how much Social Security disability fraud is actually out there? The Office of Inspector General claims the SSA receives more than 150,000 fraud allegations every year. But only a small number of these cases lead to actual charges. For example, in 2013 the SSA had 10,000 cases of fraud worth $500 million. But since the Social Security disability budget might balloon to almost $1 trillion dollars within several years these cases represent a very small percentage of the money being spent.
At this point you’re probably wondering what could be done to save the Social Security disability fund. After all, it just made the news that President Obama gave up on the idea of cutting entitlement benefits by limiting cost-of-living increases. Unfortunately, that’s an entirely different trust fund from the money served for disabilities. Under the current law the SSA commissioner may not borrow money from another fund or transfer money from other SS funds. So, in the end, only the politicians in Congress will be able to save us… somehow.