September 28,2015

Press Contact:

Taylor Harvey (Wyden): 202-224-4515
Kevin Parker (Levin): 202-226-3354

Congressional Democrats Introduce Bill to Secure Benefits for Americans with Disabilities

Bicameral Proposal Would Prevent Benefit Cuts at the End of 2016 and Ensure Earned Benefits Will Be Paid as Promised

Bill Would Adjust Payroll Tax Revenue between Social Security Trust Funds—As Congress Has Done 11 Times Before on a Bipartisan Basis

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and House Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin, D-Mich., today introduced a bill to ensure Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits will not have their benefits unnecessarily cut at the end of next year.  The bill, the “Social Security Earned Benefits Payment Act,” would temporarily adjust the distribution of incoming payroll taxes between the Social Security trust funds to ensure both funds can pay full benefits through 2034.

“Social Security Disability Insurance is one of the strongest and most successful strands of America’s safety net, keeping vulnerable people in Oregon and across the country out of poverty,” Wyden said.  “Workers receiving disability insurance have earned their benefits by paying into the system, and they absolutely should not face a cut.”

“Americans pay into Social Security throughout their working lives, and if Congress fails to act, millions of individuals and their families will see a drastic and sudden cut in their benefits,” said Rep. Levin. “This bill would help families afford to pay their mortgage, put food on the dinner table, and quite simply get by every day. We must act now to make sure that Americans living with disabilities and their families continue to receive the vital benefits they have earned.”

Social Security – retirement, survivor, and disability benefits – form some of the strongest protections in America’s safety net, providing critically important benefits to a wide cross section of the American public.  Every day, Social Security helps millions of Americans stay afloat, including a million veterans and over seven million children nationwide. Social Security benefits keep people out of poverty and provide financial security by guaranteeing vital, basic retirement, disability, and life insurance protection for American workers and their families. 

Given how closely linked the Social Security Trust Funds are, Congress has historically addressed financing issues on a combined basis, treating both Trust Funds as one.  In fact, Congress has adjusted the allocation of contributions between the two funds (in both directions) eleven times over the course of Social Security’s history. 

The Senate bill can be found here, and the House bill can be found here.