September 14, 2015
The Honorable Ron Wyden
Committee on Finance
United States SenateWashington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Wyden,
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 “Social Security Earned Benefits Payment Act.” We thank you for introducing this important legislation which, if enacted, would reallocate a modest part of payroll taxes to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund to ensure full benefits are paid through 2034.
The Social Security Trustees project that the SSDI Trust fund will be substantially depleted sometime in late 2016. Without action by Congress, in 2016 disability benefits that are currently being paid to about 11 million workers with serve disabilities and their families will either be delayed or will be reduced across-the-board by 19 percent.
Sadly, the shortfall in the SSDI Trust Fund has been used by some lawmakers to pit current and future Social Security beneficiaries against workers with disabilities. That is simply wrong. National Committee 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.
Congress has reallocated income across the Social Security Trust Funds 11 times – from the Old- Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund to the SSDI Trust Fund and vice versa. When Congress took action in 1994 to address a then-reported shortfall in the DI Trust Fund, it knew that it would have to take action again in 2015 or 2016. As proposed in your legislation, a reallocation of part of the 6.2 percent Social Security tax rate from the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund to the SSDI Trust Fund would ensure that both funds can pay full benefits until 2034, after which about 79 percent of scheduled benefits would be covered.
Your bill will provide peace of mind to the 11 million Americans who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits by assuring them that their benefits will continue to be paid without interruption. For that reason, the National Committee endorses the “Social Security Earned Benefits Payment Act” and we look forward to helping you enact this needed legislation.
President and CEO