Social Security Disability Benefits May be Reduced: Take Political Action Now

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Take Political Action Now!

Tomorrow (January 14, 2014) the Senate is expected to vote on legislation to extend Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits that includes a provision to eliminate or reduce Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits for individuals who concurrently receive UI benefits.  The savings to DI would be used to pay for the cost of extending UI benefits.   NADR strongly opposes this approach because it unfairly singles out people with disabilities; it discourages DI beneficiaries from attempting to return to work; and it uses benefit cuts to Social Security to pay for another important benefit program.

Contact your Senators today to let them know that, while you strongly support extending UI benefits, you just as strongly oppose reducing or eliminating the benefits of the most vulnerable DI beneficiaries in order to fund that extension.

Call the Capitol operator (202-224-3121) and ask to be connected to your Senator.  (Place separate calls to each of your Senators.)  When you are put through, ask to speak with the staffer who handles Social Security.  Let them know that, while you support extending UI benefits, you strongly oppose  eliminating DI benefits to fund that extension.

Below are some talking points you can use:

·         The DI and UI programs have been established for different purposes and largely serve different populations. As highlighted in a 2012 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), less than one percent of individuals served by the DI and UI programs receive concurrent benefits.

·         Receiving UI and DI is not inconsistent. This has been the long-standing position of the Social Security Administration and of the courts. Individuals who receive concurrent benefits do so because they have significant disabilities that make them eligible for DI, and because they have also attempted to work at a low level of earnings but have lost their job through no fault of their own. According to the GAO, the average quarterly concurrent benefit in fiscal year 2010 was about $1,100 in DI and $2,200 in UI for a quarterly average of about $3,300 in total benefits.

·         These benefits can be a lifeline to workers with disabilities who receive them, and their families. Any cuts to these already-modest benefits could reduce the economic security of workers with disabilities and their families at a time when the economy continues to struggle.

·         Finally, any changes to our nation’s Social Security system should be carefully considered as part of discussions about how to strengthen Social Security.  Benefit cuts to Social Security should not be considered as part of offsets for other important benefit programs.

Your NADR Legislative Team

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