Protecting Social Security Disability Insurance

On the first day of the 114th Congress, the Republicans in the House of Representatives made an unprecedented change to their rules that puts Social Security recipients at risk of receiving unnecessary cuts to their benefits. The House rule prevents funds from being reallocated between the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, as has been previously done numerous times in the past on a bipartisan basis, unless such a move improves the "financial health of the combined Social Security Trust Funds." Though innocuous-sounding, in reality this almost certainly means cuts to Social Security.

There are two ways to improve the health of the combined Trust Funds. You can bring in new revenues, or you can cut benefits. The vast majority of Republicans have categorically rejected new revenues, meaning that the rule change will likely lead millions of beneficiaries to face benefit cuts. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2013 over 2.6 million Pennsylvanians received Social Security benefits, including over 400,000 on Social Security Disability Insurance.

Without question we need to find a way to improve the solvency of the Social Security program, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Finance Committee to do this. But it is also without question that this will not be done by mean-spirited partisan actions that pit one group of beneficiaries against the other. Beneficiaries in both programs have worked hard and paid into the system. We owe them real answers to real problems. Let us work together to strengthen both programs and provide security to millions of Americans.