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Golden01

Social Security Disability - Trump's Budget

21 posts in this topic

Be afraid, very afraid . . . la-fi-hiltzik-trump-disabled-20170522-story.html

Hope NPF and others come out with strong positions on this one. 

SS Disability is a benefit we pay for through our payroll taxes and a lifesaver for many with Parkinson's disease and other debilitating conditions. "Disability insurance is an inextricable part of Social Security. It’s a core part of the program, just like retirement benefits. It was created as an add-on to Social Security in 1956, under President Eisenhower. It’s financed by the payroll tax, and the reserve funds that cover both aspects of the program are more entwined than ever, thanks to a reform measure passed by Congress in 2015."

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I was on SSD for about 8 years before hitting my full retirement age, and it really helped. Did I truly need it, no. Did it really help, yes. I can see making sure that the law is followed in making the initial disability decision, but arbitrary cutting the budget for SSD makes no sense, since that would mean that some people who qualify and need it will end up being denied. My view is that they should give SSD the money needed to fund the program, then require them to have good judges and such to insure that non-disabled people don't get disability. If there ends up being money left over in the budget, then just add it the next year's appropriation. If you go for a number of years with surplus, then maybe consider reducing the budget, but not to the point that SSD fails of its essential purpose. Yes, it sure looks like Trump's budget intends to cut not only meat, but bone, and I don't like that one dang bit.

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First off, the bias in that article dripped off my screen and onto my keyboard.

 

But, that aside, while the enrollment in SSD might be dropping slightly over the last couple years, bear in mind that SSD is probably the single most abused "entitlement" program right now.  Vast numbers of people got moved, that really shouldn't have been, from unemployment programs to SSD because that was easier than actually dealing the problems related to long term unemployment of large numbers of people.  

 

It is far too easy to get SSDI.  See https://www.forbes.com/sites/richardfinger/2013/01/14/fraud-and-disability-equal-a-multibillion-dollar-balck-hole-for-taxpayers/#5fde4db83369

 

There are massive cuts that can, and should be made to all federal spending categories, SSD included.  If the cuts are done intelligently (and, of course, they won't be, and probably deliberately so) those cuts shouldn't impact those that have actual disabilities.  

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Stump, I agree with everything you said, but I worry that simply reducing the amount of money in the budget will lead to many qualified people getting denied in some districts while unqualified people continue to be given benefits in other districts. Not all SSD districts operate by the rules, others do. You can guess for yourself which ones do and don't, but it isn't overly hard to figure out. The bureaucracies that administer these programs are often totally out of control, and that needs to be fixed right away in all government programs. Just my two cents.

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SSDI is difficult to get.  Few people get it without several applications.  Is there fraud?  Probably.  But this is not an effort to counter that fraud, it reduces the fraud by reducing all people on it, rather than the questionable ones.  It is the same as with the SNAP program.  Are there hungry people in the US?  Yes.  Is there fraud?  Maybe, maybe not.  Applicants have to reapply every 6 months and provide financial records.  If they lie, it is a felony charge.  But just cutting 30% of SNAP means 30% of the children and 30% of old people on SNAP will go to bed hungry.  But that's okay, they can get one meal a day at school!  Oops, school lunch programs cut...  Or through Meals on Wheels!  oops ....

Look, the point is, what do we want as a society?  Do we want people who can't work to starve?  Children?  I have trouble with this.  The other thing to remember about the other cut (Medicaid), it pays for nursing homes.  Medicare only covers 35% (approx number) of the cost.  Do we need reform?  Yes.  So let's decide what we want, and demand it.  How about no children starving?  No old people starving?  What parameters do we need to accomplish this?

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On 5/23/2017 at 9:40 PM, stump said:

First off, the bias in that article dripped off my screen and onto my keyboard.

 

But, that aside, while the enrollment in SSD might be dropping slightly over the last couple years, bear in mind that SSD is probably the single most abused "entitlement" program right now.  Vast numbers of people got moved, that really shouldn't have been, from unemployment programs to SSD because that was easier than actually dealing the problems related to long term unemployment of large numbers of people.  

 

It is far too easy to get SSDI.  See https://www.forbes.com/sites/richardfinger/2013/01/14/fraud-and-disability-equal-a-multibillion-dollar-balck-hole-for-taxpayers/#5fde4db83369

 

There are massive cuts that can, and should be made to all federal spending categories, SSD included.  If the cuts are done intelligently (and, of course, they won't be, and probably deliberately so) those cuts shouldn't impact those that have actual disabilities.  

Oh man.  This isn't an article, it is a screed by a subscriber.  He writes well, and slants very hard.  Some of the programs he ascribes to all those freeloaders do exist.  But read carefully.  For example, he points out " a single parent family of three earning minimum wage ($14,500) per year has more disposable income than the family making $60,000 per year. "  Really?  Even if that person with 2 children got the 'free housing' (which isn't free, it's 25% of their income, AND there is a waiting list of 8 to 10 years in most cities that stretches to 15 or more in some cities), do you really think that single parent can pay childcare AND still have more disposable income than someone making $60,000 a year?

Finally, the author Richard Finger has an interesting bio.  He is upset at the freeloaders because he is an investment advisor specializing in derivatives, short stocks, oil and gas speculation and hasn't done very well since his industry caused the meltdown of 2007.  I would submit he and his ideas actually prevent us from getting to a solution we can all live with and sleep well at night.

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Lets go after the poor and sick instead of billionaires like Trump who pay little or no taxes

 

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My DH volunteers for Meals on Wheels. These meals are not free. Each cost the patient something. Not sure how they figure it. 

 

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9 hours ago, Quietstill said:

Oh man.  This isn't an article, it is a screed by a subscriber.  He writes well, and slants very hard.  Some of the programs he ascribes to all those freeloaders do exist.  But read carefully.  For example, he points out " a single parent family of three earning minimum wage ($14,500) per year has more disposable income than the family making $60,000 per year. "  Really?  Even if that person with 2 children got the 'free housing' (which isn't free, it's 25% of their income, AND there is a waiting list of 8 to 10 years in most cities that stretches to 15 or more in some cities), do you really think that single parent can pay childcare AND still have more disposable income than someone making $60,000 a year?

I have many tenants that have 100% of their Section 8 rent paid by the government.  They get a utility allowance.  They get "free" food from the food bank.  They have a "free"Obama phone.  They have "free" healthcare.  The waiting list is about 3 years here for Section 8.  I could easily see that they would have more disposable income than someone making $60,000 a year and paying their own way. 

Here in the USA, we have the richest "poor" people in the world. They also have the largest big screen TV's on the planet.

 

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14 hours ago, Quietstill said:

SSDI is difficult to get.  Few people get it without several applications.  Is there fraud?  Probably.  But this is not an effort to counter that fraud, it reduces the fraud by reducing all people on it, rather than the questionable ones.  It is the same as with the SNAP program.  Are there hungry people in the US?  Yes.  Is there fraud?  Maybe, maybe not.  Applicants have to reapply every 6 months and provide financial records.  If they lie, it is a felony charge.  But just cutting 30% of SNAP means 30% of the children and 30% of old people on SNAP will go to bed hungry.  But that's okay, they can get one meal a day at school!  Oops, school lunch programs cut...  Or through Meals on Wheels!  oops ....

Look, the point is, what do we want as a society?  Do we want people who can't work to starve?  Children?  I have trouble with this.  The other thing to remember about the other cut (Medicaid), it pays for nursing homes.  Medicare only covers 35% (approx number) of the cost.  Do we need reform?  Yes.  So let's decide what we want, and demand it.  How about no children starving?  No old people starving?  What parameters do we need to accomplish this?

SSDI is difficult for honest, hard working, tax paying people to get.  The sponges of society get it with sickening ease.  The rates of investigation, let alone conviction, for fraud is pathetically low, unless you are the aforementioned honest, hard working, tax paying citizen.  Then an honest and inconsequential mistake is treated like the crime of the century.  Is there fraud - oh heck yes there is.  To the tune of tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars per year.  But as TPTB don't want to admit to that fraud actually quantifying it is next to impossible.

 

Cut 30% of SNAP, or Medicaid, or SSDI, or welfare, or whatever, and if you can identify just some of those that shouldn't be getting it (and by that I mean those who can work but chose not to, or that are outright fraudulent) and kick them off the roles, and I'd bet dollars to donuts you could still leave a significant amount of the fraud in the system and not impact those that legitimately need those programs.  

 

Nobody, even the most seemingly (to libs at least) cold-hearted conservative wants to see children, or disabled people, or poor elderly people starve, or become homeless.  On the other hand, someone who is an able bodied working age adult and would rather bludge the dole than do even a half assed day of work can starve in the gutter for all I care.  I'm all for having people on welfare sweep the streets, clean up parks, dig ditches and then fill them back in, break rocks for no reason at all, or whatever it might be in exchange for said welfare.  It should be a trampoline, not a hammock.  I'm not making up some mythical sub-class of people here either.  I have family members (on the in-law side, but still) that fit that description to a T.  

 

For the record, I have no problem with helping those that need it.  Kids, those that were left without resources through no real fault of their own, and so on.  

 

But, we're all adults here.  Before PD struck we were (presumably, mostly) healthy.  I bought disability insurance when I could, and I did my homework and made sure it was a good policy.  I made sacrifices to pay for it.  As it stands, last I checked, I pay about $160/month for that, and if I retire on disability that policy will pay around $7700/month, tax free.  It's an "own-oc" policy that will pay as such until I'm 65, with a 90 day elimination period.  That policy is called being responsible.  I get that not everybody has the means to get the kind of policy I bought and have continued to pay for, but there are cheaper policies that can be had more affordably.  Go with 180 day elimination, and cut the benefit to 60% or less of your own pay (and BTW that is A LOT more than 60% of my current income) and that premium will go down commensurately (a $2500/month policy should be well under $50/month if you're still healthy when you get it).  Though I would recommend keeping that as an "own-oc to age 65" if you can get it.

 

13 hours ago, johnnys said:

Lets go after the poor and sick instead of billionaires like Trump who pay little or no taxes

 

You do realize that the top 1% of income earners in this country pay around 38% of all individual taxes paid (while earning 19% of all income)?  While the occasional billionaire might be able to figure out a way to not pay taxes, the solution to that is to simplify the tax code so there aren't the loopholes anymore that allow for that.  Not to hammer the middle and higher class wage earners that already pay heavily ever harder.

 

Billionaires usually do pay very little in "income taxes" because they don't earn a W2 based income.  Their income is mostly from capital gains and dividends from stocks.  Even so I'd bet they still on average pay a much higher percentage of their income in various taxes than any of us on this forum do.  When the media talks about their tax burden they conflate not owning "income" taxes with not paying "any" taxes.

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My mom has govt assistance and could have free dental care from dentists that participate in the program.  The problem is she is not getting the best care from them because they do work in volume. One time I tried to time her medication and took her there when she was alert and on.   They gave her a shot to numb her mouth and that dentist didn't come back until 40 minutes later because he was working on 2 other patients at the same time.   By then my mom's meds were starting to wear off and she was shaking like a leaf.  I then decided to change her to a dentist that did excellent work and only helped one patient at a time.  I pay cash for her services and it's very expensive but she is really worth it.  Free isn't always better.   

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1 minute ago, miracleseeker said:

My mom has govt assistance and could have free dental care from dentists that participate in the program.  The problem is she is not getting the best care from them because they do work in volume. One time I tried to time her medication and took her there when she was alert and on.   They gave her a shot to numb her mouth and that dentist didn't come back until 40 minutes later because he was working on 2 other patients at the same time.   By then my mom's meds were starting to wear off and she was shaking like a leaf.  I then decided to change her to a dentist that did excellent work and only helped one patient at a time.  I pay cash for her services and it's very expensive but she is really worth it.  Free isn't always better.   

QFT.

 

I always say that the cheapest option is rarely the least expensive.  

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Yup.  You really get what you pay for. 

I need to look into the disability insurance you bought.  Sounds like a win win. 

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Just now, miracleseeker said:

Yup.  You really get what you pay for. 

I need to look into the disability insurance you bought.  Sounds like a win win. 

It is not cheap, but well worth it.

 

I've considered many time reducing or even cancelling that policy.  Thank God for apathy, or procrastination, or whatever it was that kept me from doing so.  Especially when I was unemployed.  Could have really used that monthly premium then especially.  But by keeping it I have a peace about my situation that I simply wouldn't have otherwise.  If I need to pull the ejection handle on my career, so be it.  We'll be just fine, financially.  The rest of it, not so much.  But knowing my family will maintain their home, ability to buy food/clothing/etc, and even have enough left for some relative luxuries, all without having to rely the government is huge.  SSDI could go away and we'd still be OK in terms of finances in that case.

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The problem is all this righteous anger over freeloaders does not solve the problem of cutting 30% of all SNAP.  Not looking and getting rid of fraudlent claims, just throwing 30% of all recipients off SNAP.  Is that acceptable to you?

Cutting Medicaid in order to give the top 1% a huge tax break runs into the problem of old folks, sick folks, and very young folks.  Is that acceptable to you?

And yes, foerthought is great.  Mt DH paid for private disability insurance for 37 years.  37 years.  Do you know what we got?  the ability to pay the D*** insurance company back the 5 months of payments once SSDI came through.  We were allowed to keep $330 dollars a month.  Nifty huh?  But thankfully the Hartford goes on making great dividends from collecting 37 years of monthly payments.  I should have just started a Roth IRA 37 years ago.  We would have been far ahead.  As for the billionaires?  Sorry, their actual tax rate in under 17% with all the pass throughs they get on investment income.  That's why Trump paid himself $5,000 a year from all 220 of his companies.  Hence no taxes except the one year that he took a regular salary, 2005, (coincidentaly the year he and his wife had to be above board to get her citizenship).

Look, I am not denigrating Trump.  He said himself not paying taxes means he's smart.  I just am asking do you find cutting SNAP and throwing old folks out into the street from nursing homes acceptable.   If not, what are your suggestions?

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14 hours ago, Quietstill said:

The problem is all this righteous anger over freeloaders does not solve the problem of cutting 30% of all SNAP.  Not looking and getting rid of fraudlent claims, just throwing 30% of all recipients off SNAP.  Is that acceptable to you?

Cutting Medicaid in order to give the top 1% a huge tax break runs into the problem of old folks, sick folks, and very young folks.  Is that acceptable to you?

And yes, foerthought is great.  Mt DH paid for private disability insurance for 37 years.  37 years.  Do you know what we got?  the ability to pay the D*** insurance company back the 5 months of payments once SSDI came through.  We were allowed to keep $330 dollars a month.  Nifty huh?  But thankfully the Hartford goes on making great dividends from collecting 37 years of monthly payments.  I should have just started a Roth IRA 37 years ago.  We would have been far ahead.  As for the billionaires?  Sorry, their actual tax rate in under 17% with all the pass throughs they get on investment income.  That's why Trump paid himself $5,000 a year from all 220 of his companies.  Hence no taxes except the one year that he took a regular salary, 2005, (coincidentaly the year he and his wife had to be above board to get her citizenship).

Look, I am not denigrating Trump.  He said himself not paying taxes means he's smart.  I just am asking do you find cutting SNAP and throwing old folks out into the street from nursing homes acceptable.   If not, what are your suggestions?

SNAP (food stamps) is one of the most abused programs in this country.  Many people receiving SNAP sell their card and then pickup their food at the food bank.  Cutting 30% isn't nearly enough.  Yes, it's acceptable to me.

A huge percentage of people on Medicaid are just plain lazy.  I see it every day.  CUT IT!

People like Trump that are in real estate often pay little or no income tax.  However, they pay huge property taxes that hourly workers don't pay.

 

 

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I forgot one little detail.  NONE of these "cuts" are cuts at all.  They are cuts in the anticipated increases in these programs.  For example, Medicare will nearly double over the next ten years under Trump.  Likewise, Medicaid spending will also dramatically increase under Trump.  Only in Washington D.C. are dramatic increases in spending called a "cut".

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Every time there is a big change in the political arena there is the sky is falling mentality . People work themselves up into a frenzy go into panic mode for about 6 months to a year . It happens with the republican sector when the democrats are in charge and It happens to the democrats when the republicans gain control . The reason the human species can't stand change ! Change happens everyday ,some call it progress some condemn change . What happens in politics is the change happens, people panic , change gets ingrained , no one notices the change when it finally goes full circle , then back to complacinsy until the next election !

Dan

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What do we do to sort things out and revise policies so that people who really need the help get it?  The unfortunate truth is that when cuts are made, the most vulnerable are the ones who get cut.  My son, early in his career, worked with the homeless population.  He said that the majority of the homeless have significant mental health issues.  The panhandlers who have figured out how to hold up a sign with a heart wrenching story, then go around the corner and get in a nice car and go home with cash give a bad name to the really needy homeless and unemployed.  My son also worked with the aging population who lived in subsidized housing.  Many were elderly widows who had very few resources.  The majority had worked hard in low wage jobs and hadn't been able to save for retirement.  They didn't have big televisions or luxuries.  They had food and shelter. How do we separate out the truly needy from the freeloaders?  An across the board cut doesn't do that.  Government programs really help those that truly need the help.  Government programs enable the the shiftless free loaders and further ensure that they don't become productive citizens.

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3 hours ago, genden69 said:

  The unfortunate truth is that when cuts are made, the most vulnerable are the ones who get cut.... An across the board cut doesn't do that. 

There are no cuts being proposed.  Only slight decreases in the massive projected increases.  There will still be massive increases in spending on Medicaid, Medicare, and just about every other government program.

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There are some reasonable underlying points here.  I want a safety net for those who need it.  I also think we could do a better job of eliminating fraud and waste.  Okay, I am liberal.  Does that mean I am stupid?  No.  Okay, there are conservatives.  Does that mean they are heartless?  No.

So, if we can agree we are all Americans, what do we want?  How about a reasonable safety net and a look to eliminating fraud and waste.  This proposed budget, which is pinned to the repeal of ACA and replacement  with AHCA is not it.  Sorry, these are real cuts.  $880 Billion will be cut to Medicaid through the repeal of the ACA.  Great, that's good, right?  The govt saves money.  Nope, 575 billion of that money goes right to the top 1%.  $375 billion goes to 'block grants' to the states.  So do the math: 880 savings less 575 tax cut = 305 billion savings.  But 375 billion is going to states for a block grant....  Take a wild guess whose taxes will be going up.  This is just math, no ideology here.

That's part one.  Those are real cuts.  Now go to the budget.  More cuts.  This is not proposed cuts to future growth in spending, that is accomplished through Repeal and Replace by throwing 23 million off insurance, this is just 30% cuts to existing spending.  Do we need to save money?  Yes.  But a naked 30% cut across a program with no reform of waste and abuse just means starvation and real degrading hardship to the helpless among the 30% tossed off the rolls.  There is no winnowing or examination here.  You may 'catch' a few free-loaders by accident, but not that many.

Do I think the budget will pass?  No.  It turns the stomach of even Mitch McConnell, that shining example of compassion.  Facts matter.  Numbers don't lie. 

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