As the dust settles around the hotly-debated political time-bomb that was the recent debt ceiling negotiations, many recipients of public benefits such as Social Security Disability are likely wondering where the debt deal leaves them, and for good reason. The actual budget bill is long and confusing, as any good government document, so it is helpful when political reporters such as Nate Silver from the New York Times break down the essentials.
In summary, however, the new budget deal does not require any cuts to the Social Security Administration’s operating budget, or that of any other domestic agency, until fiscal year 2013 at the earliest. If enacted, they will last through 2022. Conveniently, the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012, which may mean that the SSA will also avoid cuts beyond 2013 – unless, of course, they are once again extended.
According to Silver’s article, the spending cuts included in the bill will take place in two stages: right away, there will be approximately $1 trillion in spending cuts. Then, an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts will take effect by the end of 2011 if Congress is unable to agree to an additional budget deal as recommended by a bipartisan committee.
Silver seems to believe that the second $1.5 trillion in cuts will likely end up happening, as Democrats and Republicans will likely be unwilling and unable to meet in the middle and take the committee’s recommendations. At that time, cuts to Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income and other programs may be a possibility, with very real implications on beneficiaries. We will continue to update our blog with any new developments.
Source: New York Times, “The Fine Print on the Debt Deal,” Nate Silver, August 1, 2011