20130621 urban institute


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20130621 urban institute

  1. 1. SOCIAL SECURITYDISABILITY INSURANCE:A VITAL LIFELINE FORPEOPLE WITH DISABILITIESHDadvocates HealthAndDisabilitythinkbeyondthelabel.com | illinoishealthmatters.org | ourfamilysecurity.com | ILwarriortowarrior.org | hdadvocates.orgLISA D. EKMAN, JD, MSWFEDERAL POLICY DIRECTORLEKMAN@HDADVOCATES.ORG
  2. 2. WHY IS SSDI IMPORTANT?• SSDI benefits provide access to health careand long-term services and supports• They lift many people with disabilities andtheir family members out of poverty• For many, benefits earned are the only thingkeeping them from homelessness anddestitute poverty
  3. 3. SSDI BENEFICIARYCHARACTERISTICSSSDI beneficiaries are a diverse group, includingpeople with• Heart disease• End stage renal failure• Significant intellectualdisabilities• Severe mental illness• Severe physicaldisabilities• Advanced stagecancers• Debilitating arthritis• Deafness• Blindness
  4. 4. SSDI BENEFICIARYCHARACTERISTICSSome are terminally ill• About 1 in 5 male SSDI beneficiaries and justunder 1 in 6 female SSDI beneficiaries diewithin first five years of receiving benefitsTend to be older• About 7 in 10 are over 50• Approximately 3 in 10 are over 60Low educational attainment• 42% did not finish high school• 35.3% have high school diploma or equivalent
  5. 5. SSDI beneficiaries should be given every support, serviceand encouragement to work, but available data show that alarge percentage will never have the capacity for ongoingwork at a significant level.CAN A SIGNIFICANTPERCENTAGE WORK ANDBECOME SELF-SUPPORTING?
  6. 6. Kathy Ruffing, Social Security Disability Insurance is Vital to Workers With Severe Impairments, Center on Budget and PolicyPriorities, August 9, 2012. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3818REJECTED APPLICANTSDON’T FARE WELLBarely half have anyearnings53% of rejected male applicants age 45 to 64 (vs.about 20% of accepted applicants) had any earningstwo years after application. Compare to 82% of acontrol group of non-applicants (with similardemographic characteristics and past work history)who had earnings.Two years afterapplication, 43% ofrejected applicants hadearnings equivalent to 3months out of the year atminimum wageIn contrast, 79% of non-applicants had at least thatlevel of earnings.For those with earnings,median amounts arequite lowAmong rejected applicants who worked, medianannual earnings (in 2000 dollars) were only $10,000,just slightly above the poverty line. Compare tomedian earnings of $35,000 among non-applicants.
  7. 7. SSDI IS NOT AWORK DISINCENTIVE• Just over 8 in 10 report biggest barrier to employmentwas their own disability (80.5 percent)• More than 9 in 10 people surveyed indicated receipt ofpublic income support benefits had NO effect on theirwork activity• In fact, 92.5 percent of those who received financialassistance within the past year reported that “theprogram(s) they used did not cause them to workless than they otherwise would have.”United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release, PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY:BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT,TYPES OF ASSISTANCE, AND OTHER LABOR-RELATED ISSUES —MAY 2012,”April 24, 2013; available at http://bls.gov/news.release/pdf/dissup.pdf
  9. 9. SUSTAINABILITY ANDAFFORDABILITYA MATTER OF PRIORITIES• Americans support Social Security and don’t mindpaying for it• Given a choice, they would rather pay more thansee benefits cut• Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities supportsrevenue only options• Benefits already modest• Any cuts will cause more hardship and more poverty
  10. 10. SOCIAL SECURITYWHAT AMERICANS WANTELIMINATECAPGradually, over 10 years, eliminate cap on earnings taxed forSocial Security.INCREASETAX RATEGradually, over 20 years, raise Social Security tax that workersand employers each pay from 6.2% of earnings to 7.2%. Theincrease would be so gradual that someone earning $50,000 ayear would pay about 50 cents a week more each year.INCREASECOLAIncrease Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) tomore accurately reflect inflation actually experienced by seniors,who typically pay more out-of-pocket for medical care than otherhouseholds.RAISEMINIMUMBENEFITRaise Social Security’s minimum benefit so that a worker whopays into Social Security for 30 years can retire at 62 or later andhave benefits above the federal poverty line ($10,788 for oneperson aged 65 or older in 2011).Source: Jasmine V. Tucker, Virginia P. Reno, Thomas N. Bethell, Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want?, NationalAcademy of Social Insurance, January 2013, http://www.nasi.org/research/2013/report-strengthening-social-security-what-do-americans-want
  11. 11. DOES SSDI NEEDREFORM?SSDI is functioning as it should – providing vital wagereplacement to millions of people with disabilities andtheir families who need it.More must be done to• Help people who acquire disabilities stay at work if theycan;• Provide support and services to SSDI beneficiaries withwork capacity to obtain and maintain employment;But this is not, and should not be, the role of SSDIprogram
  12. 12. PRINCIPLES FORREFORMAny reform should preserve the structure of the SSDIprogram, including the definition of disabilityEfforts to increase employment opportunities andimprove employment outcomes for Social Securitydisability beneficiaries should not be achieved through• Any tightening of eligibility criteria for cash benefits• Narrowing of health care benefits• Removing the entitlement to benefits, OR• Devolving responsibility to the states
  13. 13. MORE PRINCIPLES FORREFORMSSDI benefit receipt should not be time limitedWork activities and work preparation activities, shouldbe voluntary for SSDI beneficiariesSocial Security Administration should be givenadequate administrative resources to• Perform disability determinations in a timely manner• Perform program integrity functions- Continuing disability reviews- Prevent overpayments
  14. 14. It started with a safety net. Founded in 1992 to educate stakeholders about the key roleSocial Security, Medicare and Medicaid play in the lives of persons with disabilities and olderadults, today we advance health and economic security, especially for vulnerablepopulations.HEALTH & DISABILITY ADVOCATES