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How the U.S. budget could affect SSD recipients and applicants

Each year, President Obama proposes a budget and submits it to Congress for that body’s consideration. Congress then subjects the budget to numerous resolutions, determines whether or not to approve various discretionary spending items and otherwise reforms the bill. Then, if both chambers pass the budget and approve a unified version in conference, it becomes law as soon as the president signs it.

President Obama’s newly proposed budget is almost certainly going to be reformed in significant ways before it is passed by Congress. However, if certain provisions of the proposed budget are passed as originally written, the budget could significantly impact certain applicants and recipients of Social Security disability benefits.

Specifically, the proposed budget would make qualifying for SSD benefits nearly impossible if the applicant or recipient was simultaneously receiving unemployment benefits. According to the Los Angeles Times, it is estimated that $3.2 billion would be saved over the next decade if SSD recipients were prevented from receiving unemployment benefits at the same time.

Advocates of this measure insist that it makes little sense for individuals to receive both kinds of benefits simultaneously and that the savings promised by this reform are significant. Opponents feel that this reform unnecessarily targets an already vulnerable population. If SSD benefits are truly meant to serve as a supplementary form of income, why can’t they supplement unemployment benefits?

If Congress does not act to reform this particular provision of the proposed budget, individuals receiving both kinds of benefits may be compelled to choose one over the other.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “The attack on the disabled buried in the president's new budget,” Michael Hiltzik, Mar. 5, 2014

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