Predictions For 2015: Social Security Disability Benefits Start Running Out

2015 predictions are already a little bit gloomy, but it may even get worse as the year trundles on since it’s believed that social security disability benefits may start running out either in late 2015 or some time in 2016.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, some predictions for 2015 note the recent creation of an artificial virus for the first time. Although researchers are already talking about the potential advances in medicine and nanotechnology, the same technology could be used to create a zombie apocalypse virus as a bio-weapon. If that’s not scary enough, some experts believe World War 3 is inevitable due to economic reasons, and it’s possible Vladimir Putin’s claim over Arctic oil could be a trigger point since it’s believed worldwide oil reserves could run out by 2060. Of course, the skies would not be falling appropriately if a 2015 asteroid impact on Earth was not thrown into the predictions blender.

While most of those 2015 predictions are hardly serious, the idea that social security disability benefits will start running dry is not a crackpot conspiracy theory. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has been predicting that the SSA disability fund will run out for several years, but the U.S. Congress has done nothing to resolve the issue.

The problem gets worse because it’s been found that the social security disability benefits judges have been wrongly awarding up to $2 billion in disability claims, although that’s a relatively small percent of the $200 billion spent each year. Even if all the waste, fraud, and abuse was eliminated from the system, the small boost would not be enough to cover the upcoming shortfall.

If nothing is done soon by Congress, the current solution is to automatically cut social security disability benefits by up to 20 percent.

“While legislation is needed to address all of Social Security’s financial imbalances, the need has become most urgent with respect to the program’s disability insurance component,” the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds wrote, according to The Buffalo News. “Lawmakers need to act soon to avoid automatic reductions in payments to DI beneficiaries in late 2016.”

Another potential solution being discussed is to shift some of the funds in the general social security retirement to the disability fund, but that’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul since the regular retiree benefits are already scheduled to run out by 2033 or earlier. The other option is to borrow more money to cover the difference, but the U.S. national debt clock just recently clicked past $18 trillion. The CBO is already warning that the high federal debt levels may lead to yet another major recession.

“Large federal budget deficits over the long term would reduce investment, resulting in lower national income and higher interest rates than would otherwise occur…. When the amount of outstanding debt is relatively small, a government can borrow money to address significant unexpected events—recessions, financial crises, or wars, for example. In contrast, when outstanding debt is large, a government has less flexibility to address financial and economic crises—a very costly circumstance for many countries…. A large and continuously growing federal debt would have another significant negative consequence: It would increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis in the United States.”

A Republican-controlled Congress has vowed to get Congressional spending under control, but based upon prior history when the GOP controlled both sides of Congress, they will not manage to get rid of the federal deficit entirely. This leads to one of several 2015 predictions, since it’s believed politicians will consider increasing Social Security payroll taxes to the point that the program once again becomes self-sustaining as it was intended to be. This subject was taboo in the lead up to the 2014 elections since no one likes talking about raising taxes before a major election, but now one major option on the table is upping the Social Security payroll tax cap.

With social security disability benefit running out of money, how do you think Congress should solve the problem?