Social Security’s trustees project that the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund will be depleted by the end of 2016, resulting in an approximate 20 percent reduction in SSDI benefits unless legislation is passed in advance to address the projected shortfall. The anticipated depletion of the SSDI trust fund has triggered the creation of various proposals that would reform the program to achieve solvency for the fund as well as other desirable outcomes.
A new working paper from Mathematica’s David Stapleton, Yonatan Ben-Shalom, and David Mann, written with the support of the non-partisan McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative and Mathematica, describes a proposal that would start the modernization of economic security for workers who experience work-threatening medical conditions by creating a new, integrated gateway via which workers could access both employment supports and SSDI benefits—an Employment/Eligibility Service agency. The proposal redefines economic security benefits to include the early delivery of work supports for those who are challenged to continue work on their own and retains SSDI benefits (with accompanying Medicare benefits) for those unable to do so. The goal is to both improve economic security for workers and reduce net federal outlays for their support. The authors point out that it will take substantial investments over a period of five to ten years to develop and test the system, but anticipate that the system could eventually reduce annual net federal outlays to support such workers by tens of billions of dollars.
An Employment/Eligibility Service Agency (EES)