February 11,2015

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Charles Pope: 202-224-6854

Wyden Responds to Republican Claims That Social Security Disability Insurance Is In “Crisis”

WASHINGTON Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today responded to assertions by Republicans during a Budget Committee hearing that the trust fund financing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is in “crisis.”

“Instead of using alarmist rhetoric, Republicans should join us in finding measured, equitable and common sense solutions that ensure the Social Security Disability Insurance program can pay all benefits on time and in full. Social Security is the only disability insurance most workers have,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the Senate Finance Committee’s ranking Democrat.

“To do that, we must agree on a couple things. First, the trust fund supporting SSDI is not in crisis. After the last trust fund adjustment in 1994, the Social Security Trustees projected in 1995 that the fund would need to be adjusted in 2016. Second, transfers aren’t uncommon – it’s been done 11 times before under both Democratic and Republican presidents. The fact is, the SSDI trust fund has performed as expected and the funding adjustment President Obama has requested will guarantee its benefits for retirees, veterans and individuals with disabilities for another 18 years. That’s plenty of time to work in a smart, rational way to find and make changes that ensure Social Security’s fiscal health while protecting benefits that millions of Americans deserve and have earned,” Wyden said.


BACKGROUND: In January, House Republicans approved a rule change that makes it difficult to transfer funds between two separate Social Security trust funds to ensure both remain on strong financial footing. That road block puts at risk a transfer that has been routinely approved by Congress 11 times before and is often used to ensure that benefits to 9 million disabled workers, veterans and children are not put in jeopardy. In fact, previous reallocations have been approved by both Democratic and Republican presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Moreover, Social Security’s retirement and disability benefits share important similarities which is why transfers have routinely been made over the last 50 years.