July 22, 2015
The Honorable Xavier Becerra
1226 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative Becerra:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse the “One Social Security Act.” We thank you for introducing this important legislation which, if enacted, would merge the two existing Social Security trust funds into a single unified Social Security Trust Fund.
While leaving intact all of the procedural and accounting rules that have, for so long, protected the integrity of the Social Security trust funds, your bill would resolve a looming problem that threatens the economic security of the 11 million disabled workers and their family members who depend on Social Security. That problem is the impending depletion of the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund.
The 2014 report of the Social Security Trustees projects that the DI Trust Fund will be substantially depleted sometime in late 2016. In addition, the trustees reported that the income to the DI trust fund at that time will equal only about 80 percent of the trust fund’s obligations. Without action by Congress, in 2016 disability benefits will either be delayed or reduced across the board by 20 percent.
The “One Social Security Act” resolves this funding shortfall. It does so by combining Social Security’s two existing trust funds, one for disability and another for retirement and survivor benefits, into a single Social Security Trust Fund. In this way, all beneficiaries will have access to the $2.8 trillion currently held in the system’s overall reserves, which they have contributed to throughout their working lives.
Your bill allows Social Security to use all of its dedicated reserves to pay full benefits to all current beneficiaries. It does not change the overall solvency of the Social Security system, and it contains no other changes to Social Security. Equally important, it provides reassurance and peace of mind for the 11 million disabled Americans who depend on Social Security that they will not see their benefits cut by 20 percent simply because of accounting issues.
Sadly, the shortfall in the DI Trust Fund has been used by some lawmakers to pit current and future Social Security beneficiaries against workers with disabilities. That’s not the National Committee’s view. Our members view Social Security as an inter-generational compact that protects all members of the family. It is a single integrated system of benefits that protects all Americans against the risks of retirement, disability and survivorship. Your legislation reaffirms this perspective by unifying the program under one trust fund. For that reason, the National Committee endorses the “One Social Security Act,” and we look forward to helping you enact this important legislation.
President and CEO