By Frank Lewis
Did you know that $17 million in monthly benefits and $204 million annually, as of Dec. 2013, in Social Security benefits is paid to residents of Scioto County? And that there are 16,755 beneficiaries as of that same date? In addition, there are 2,100 disabled workers in Scioto County as well.
Now comes word out of Washington that the average monthly benefit for disabled workers is $1,017 and, if nothing is done by Congress to shore up the Social Security Disability account, that number could be reduced by $193 a month.
The trustees that oversee Social Security said the disability trust fund will run out of money in late 2016, right in the middle of a presidential campaign. That would trigger an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits.
Congress has the power to move tax revenue from Social Security’s retirement fund, and while President Obama supports such action, Republicans, who control both houses of Congress are saying they want changes in the program to reduce fraud and to encourage disabled workers to re-enter the work force.
“Today’s troubling report unfortunately comes as no surprise. Washington has continually kicked the can down the road, and now, as 11 million Americans face cuts to Social Security disability benefits they rely on, it is time for Congress to take action and reform our important but unsustainable programs like Social Security and Medicare so that they are available for those Americans who need them the most,” Portman said. “Washington’s fiscal irresponsibility passes the problem to future generations, mortgaging the future of Ohio’s children and grandchildren. I hope that today’s report is a call to action – for both the Administration and both parties to finally come together to address this challenge.”
According to the Associated Press, Medicare turns 50 at the end of the month and Social Security turns 80 two weeks later. Together, the programs accounted for more than 40 percent of federal spending last year. Both are feeling the strains of retiring baby boomers.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.