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White House Budget Director Calls SSDI “Wasteful”

The current administration continues to be highly controversial, even as it seeks to present itself as fiscally responsible. It seems that there is some new statement that comes out from someone every day that erupts in the media and online as a source of future trouble.

Among the most recent of these, and a statement that could be very dangerous to people in need of social security is the Budget Director’s statement regarding the wastefulness of SSDI. Examine the reasons why the White House budget director’s claim that Social Security disability is wasteful can be devastating to those who need benefits.

Budget Director’s Quote

The quote in question, which can be devastating to those who count on federal benefits just to barely make ends meet every day, comes from Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget for the White House. The quote is as follows:

“Do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security?…It’s the fastest growing program…. It’s a very wasteful program and we want to try and fix that.”

Breaking Campaign Promises?

This quote, this direct attack on Social Security and the benefits it provides, flies directly in the face of a campaign promise made by President Trump to preserve Social Security without imposing cuts to the program. It’s true that the program grew under President Obama, but the reasons behind that can be traced to the recession with which the country dealt during that time. Has the Trump Administration done another 180 on a campaign promise, or is this just another effort to undo anything done by the prior administration?

What It Means

This statement reflects yet another gross misunderstanding of Social Security, its place in our society and the importance of the program to millions of Americans who rely on these benefits just to get by day to day. Now, it’s not clear what the director means when he says the administration wants to “fix” it; it could just mean eliminating waste within the program and streamlining delivery. However, it could also mean cutting necessary benefits for millions of Americans.

The Director pointed to improper or unjustified payments traced to mistaken information or other errors in the SSA or the beneficiaries, which between the years 2011 and 2015 amounted to over $6.6 billion in overpayments (partially offset by $1.5 billion in underpayments), these “wastes” amounted to less than 1% of total payments in the program overall.

Watching the Future

While the total dollar amounts concerning errors in the program seem significant, it’s tough to say that the program overall is exceptionally wasteful given the small percentage these errors represent. It never hurts to tighten programs to close loopholes and streamline deliveries, but the question remains for millions of SSDI beneficiaries of what the future holds.

For how, however, the program is still solid, and if you’re in need of Social Security disability benefits, you should talk with a qualified disability attorney to get advice and help on your filing. If you’re in Southern California and would like a consultation, call the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour for help today.

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