[Nfbmo] Fwd: [nfbmi-talk] Social Security - SSDI

Fred Olver fredolver at gmail.com
Wed Nov 11 17:01:07 UTC 2015

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Terry D. Eagle via nfbmi-talk" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Date: November 10, 2015 at 5:49:00 PM CST
> To: "'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List'" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Cc: "Terry D. Eagle" <terrydeagle at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [nfbmi-talk] Social Security - SSDI
> Reply-To: terrydeagle at yahoo.com, NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Signed into law, U.S. Budget Deal Protects Social Security SSDI
> We were close to loosing 20 percent of SSDI! 
> One of the most important elements of the deal for seniors, experts said, is
> the shoring up of Social Security disability insurance. The program was in
> financial crisis, and beneficiaries were facing a potential 20 percent cut
> in their benefits in 2016.
> The budget deal tweaks how payments into Social Security by employers and
> employees are allocated to give the disability insurance program some
> breathing room. Currently, the government collects 6.2 percent of income
> from employees and 6.2 percent from employers (along with 12.4 percent from
> those who are self-employed.) Of that, 10.6 percent goes to the main Social
> Security trust fund, and the rest, 1.8 percent, to the disability fund.
> The deal increases the share going to the disability fund to 2.37 percent
> for three years, buying time for Congress to come up with a longer term
> solution to the challenges facing both Social Security trust funds.
> "That's a lot of peace of mind for 11 million Americans [receiving
> disability benefits] and their families," said Firvida, noting that
> roughly70 percent of beneficiaries are age 50 or over.
> Johnson points to another element of the deal as especially important for
> seniors: a move to curb Medicare Part B premium hikes. Social Security
> payments will not be increasing next year because inflation is so low, but
> regulations bar Social Security recipients from seeing their checks reduced.
> At the same time, Medicare Part B premiums were on track to increase.
> As a result, the roughly 70 percent of beneficiaries who have premiums
> deducted from the Social Security check would not pay higher premiums -
> but30 percent of beneficiaries would have had to cover the entire increase.
> Their premiums could have risen some 52 percent.
> The budget deal addresses this by having the Treasury lend $7.5 billion to
> the Medicare program, so beneficiaries paying the increase will see premiums
> rise roughly 15 percent - a sharp hike, but much less than without the loan.
> And in 2017, Medicare beneficiaries will start repaying the loan to the tune
> of $3 per beneficiary per month.
> social security medicare
> Hill Street Studios Getty Images
> Other changes have been met with dismay in some quarters, notably tweaks to
> the Social Security program to eliminate certain claiming strategies. These
> strategies, commonly known as "file and suspend" and "claim now, claim more
> later," generally allowed married couples to have one spouse start claiming
> spousal benefits at full retirement age while the other allowed his or her
> own benefit to continue growing. The Center for Retirement Research at
> Boston College estimated  that these strategies cost the government roughly
> $10 billion annually.
> The budget deal eliminates these claiming strategies, though the provision
> does not take effect for six months. In addition, people who are eligible
> for Social Security, generally those 62 and older, can opt into one of these
> strategies if they wish.
> Firvida said the end of the claiming strategies will disappoint some people
> who had hoped to use them, but noted that those people tend to be more
> affluent, and thus better able to cope with the change.(The Center for
> Retirement Research experts also took that view, noting of "claim now, claim
> more later" that "the main beneficiaries of this strategy are two-earner
> couples, with a significant portion of the benefits going to those in the
> upper portion of the wealth distribution.") Firvida also stressed that no
> one currently using these strategies or eligible to use them will be
> stopped. "Without question, we feel like this is a net win," she said. "The
> Medicare issue is a serious issue for millions of folks. I can't even
> compare 16 million Medicare recipients and 11 million disability insurance
> recipients to this loophole closing and no one being impacted. You can't
> even compare these things."
> The budget deal is now signed into law, giving policymakers time to consider
> longer term fixes to Social Security and Medicare. Plenty of skeptics
> doubted that such a deal could be reached, and many more question whether
> substantive reform will pass. Still, the deal at least provides enough time
> for such work to begin.
> "These are really good changes, common-sense policy reforms that are going
> to protect millions of retirees and disabled Americans from serious harm,"
> said Johnson.
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