The President’s 2016 budget shows that he’s serious about running Social Security’s disability programs — Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — tightly without slashing vital benefits. Lawmakers should follow that approach.
The budget would replenish DI’s trust fund by reallocating payroll tax revenues from the much larger old-age and survivors insurance (OASI) fund. That would avert a 20-percent cut in disability benefits in 2016 and give the President and Congress time to focus on restoring solvency for Social Security as a whole. The budget also proposes testing new approaches to help people with disabilities remain in the workforce; policies that prove successful could be part of a future solvency plan. (The Administration provides further details here, here, and here.)
The budget would:
Although not specifically targeted at workers with disabilities, the budget’s proposals to make permanent key provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit that are set to expire after 2017, and to expand the EITC modestly for childless and older workers, would also help people with severe impairments who are struggling to work.