Attorney Donna Nesselbush Stresses Need to Preserve SSDI Program at Roundtable with U.S. Senator, Representative

Attorney Donna Nesselbush

State Senator Donna Nesselbush, an attorney at Marasco & Nesselbush, LLP, recently sat down with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin to discuss the importance of protecting Social Security disability benefits for coming generations.

The roundtable discussion event was held at Community Action Partnership of Providence. It also featured individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, representatives from disability groups, members of the Social Security Administration and the Executive Director of Community Action Partnership of Providence.

During the roundtable, participants raised a serious concern: that the Disability Insurance Trust Fund may run out of money as early as 2016. If this happens, those who rely on SSDI benefits to meet their basic needs may find their benefits cut by up to 20 percent.

Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin presented one possible solution at the roundtable: move a small percentage of Social Security taxes currently paid into the retirement fund into the disability fund. While they admit this is a short-term solution, they also offered a longer-term fix: raise or eliminate the cap on the amount of income currently taxed by Social Security.

By raising the cap, they proposed that disability benefits could continue to be funded well past 2016, preserving a vital safety net for millions of American families. Similar changes have been made before when the need to protect the trust funds that support Social Security programs have arisen in the past.

Currently, about 10.2 million people nationwide receive Social Security disability benefits. This includes about 42,000 Rhode Island residents who rely on these benefits to pay for their basic needs.

The benefits are funded through a 12.4 percent payroll tax, which is currently divided with about 10.6 percent going to retirement and 1.8 percent going to the Disability Insurance Trust Fund.

Social Security disability benefits are available to workers who meet requirements for having worked in jobs covered by Social Security and who have a disability that prevents them from working for at least one year and/or is expected to result in death. Certain family members, like children, may also be able to claim benefits on the basis of another family member’s work record.

At Marasco & Nesselbush, we understand how important SSDI benefits are to the Rhode Island families who depend on them. If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of SSDI or SSI, please contact an SSD attorney at Marasco & Nesselbush for a free consultation.