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Shutdown averted, but is SSD funding still at risk?

In a dramatic last minute save, the United States Congress was able to come together last Friday night and work out a budget compromise, successfully averting a shutdown of the federal government. Under the new budget deal, which governs the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, programs such as Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid will not be forced to undergo drastic cuts.

However, the budget deal is only a temporary fix, and the budget will once again be the subject of intense debate in approximately six months. As SSD critics and proponents alike voice their concern about Social Security Administration funding and their complaints about SSD application wait times, it is likely that the program will have no choice but undergo some sort of reform in the coming months or years.

This seemed to be the point that President Barack Obama was trying to make during a recent budget speech. During his address, President Obama stated that he plans to cut a whopping $4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 12 years. While he stated that some of this amount will come from increased taxation on the wealthy, he also alluded to planned budget cuts.

However, President Obama said, the most vulnerable Americans - the elderly and disabled - will not be forced to make further sacrifices in order to balance the budget. Therefore, it appears that the president has no plans to cut the budgets of SSD or Medicaid. Specifically, President Obama said that he does not want to make any immediate changes to Social Security because SSD programs do not contribute to the deficit in a major way.

But with current predictions stating that the program is going to run out of money in a few years, reforms and budget cuts are likely unavoidable. We will continue to update our blog with any new developments in the ever-changing budget debate.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Obama Defends Disability Programs, But Says Reform Needed", Michelle Diament, 14 April 2011

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