Many people need to rely on Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to make ends meet when they are no longer able to work. SSDI benefits are available for certain individuals who have a qualifying disability and are unable to work. These benefits can be a lifeline for those people who cannot afford their basic necessities.
However, in recent years the Security Disability Fund that funds the program has had issues. In particular, the fund was close to going completely bankrupt before an act of Congress recently stepped in. Under a new budget proposal, funding will be available to the Social Security Administration so that recipients will receive full benefits.
However, the budget shortfall is not the only issue that the Social Security Disability fund is facing. According to a new study by the Government Accountability Office, the fund is facing other issues too. There are issues of fraud, for example. Another major issue is the overpayment of benefits.
According to the GAO's findings, in 2014 $141 billion in benefits were paid out. However, between 2005 and 2014, around $15.4 billion were overpaid to recipients. The SSA was only able to collect half of that amount back. Of this amount, $1.4 billion was not collected since the overpayments were not the fault of the recipients.
Experts say there are many reasons for the Fund's shortcomings. The agency is understaffed and does not have the resources it needs to process all the claims. Also, many of the claims are not in digital form. By still using paper applications and paper evidence, it takes extra time to sift through and approve claims.
Michigan residents who are considering SSDI benefits should understand their legal rights. It can be difficult to understand when people are entitled to these benefits and how to apply them. However, understanding these right is imperative to ensure that mistakes are not made.
Source: CNBC, "Social Security disability fund gets dealt another blow," Kelley Holland, Nov. 17, 2015