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Should I be worried about my disability benefits next year?

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With Social Security's Disability Trust Fund expected to become insolvent next year, should beneficiaries worry?

Social Security faces serious financial challenges, but panic is premature

As FOX Business recently reported, the 2015 Social Security Trustees Report contained some dire warnings about the state of the country's Social Security system. For people claiming Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the most alarming warning was that the fund for Disability Insurance is expected to run out next year. Such projections can be frightening for disability recipients, many of whom are bound to wonder whether their benefits will stop next year when the fund becomes insolvent. However, while the financial challenges facing Social Security are serious, beneficiaries should not worry about losing their benefits completely anytime soon.

What happens in 2016?

The Trustees Report predicts that in 2016 the Disability Trust Fund, which funds SSDI claims, will be out of money. That prediction has led many to conclude that disability benefits will end sometime next year. However, it is important to keep in mind that revenue will still be coming into the fund through payroll taxes, which will be enough to cover 81 percent of disability benefits, according to Forbes. While losing 19 percent of benefits is hardly a welcome scenario, it is far less dire than losing those disability benefits completely.

Options still exist

The Trustees Report, furthermore, makes its predictions based on the assumption that the way Social Security is funded will largely stay the same. Social Security, however, is such an important lifeline for millions of Americans that it seems inconceivable that at least some changes, such as increasing the payroll tax or cutting benefits, won't at least be considered in order to make sure the system remains solvent. One immediate, although short-term, solution that has been offered to disability claimants, for example, is transferring some of the funds that are used to payout on retiree claims and use them instead to pay for disability claims. The reason for doing so is that the fund for Social Security Old Age and Survivors is expected to remain solvent until 2035. While taking funds from the Old Age and Survivors fund would also move up the date at which that fund is expected to run out of money, it would also help buy time for the Disability Fund to remain solvent until a more long-term solution could be found.

Making a claim

Without a doubt, Social Security is facing some serious financial pressures that will need to be dealt with by lawmakers. For beneficiaries, however, it is probably too early to panic about benefits being cut off altogether. Nonetheless, the problems shown above do highlight the need for claimants to have the best assistance possible when filing an SSDI claim. An attorney who has a wealth of experience in getting his clients the maximum amount of benefits they are entitled to is in the best position to help others with their own SSDI benefits. Before making any disability claim, it is important to reach out to an attorney to discuss what options exist that may help in ensuring such a claim is successful.

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