First Salvos of New GOP Congress: Social Security, Disability Benefits

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives have their sights set on Social Security and disability benefits as their first order of business. Soon after this week’s convening of the 114th Congress, members approved a rule that would force both programs into insolvency.

Since 1968, Congress has allowed the periodic reallocation of Social Security payroll tax income to cover the cost of benefits from the disability trust fund and vice versa. The reallocations were projected to keep both programs solvent until 2033. But, this week’s procedural rule prevents the routine reallocation unless it’s accompanied by benefit cuts or tax increases.

Without the reallocation, the disability trust fund could run dry as early as next year and benefits for 11 million beneficiaries would have to be cut 20 percent, say some economists.

“It is hard to believe that there is any purpose to this unprecedented change to House rules other than to cut benefits for Americans who have worked hard all their lives,” said Max Richtman from the Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.