Some people in West Virginia are concerned about reports from Social Security trustees that the program will face serious problems that could affect its viability. Trustees say that the cost of paying out benefits will exceed the program's income in 2020, marking the first time since 1982 that this was the case. They also warned that this situation, if allowed to continue, could deplete the program's $2.9 trillion trust fund entirely for people receiving retirement benefits before 2034. They also said that the disability funds trust could persist until 2052. Both retirees and people with serious disabilities rely on Social Security for income to cover basic, necessary expenses.
Social Security Disability benefits in particular are a lifeline for people forced out of the workplace due to disabilities. Depleting the Social Security trust fund could put these recipients at serious risk, given their vulnerability and lack of access to other forms of support. Therefore, the trustees urged action on the legislative level to make changes to keep the program viable. These kinds of changes could include tax increases or benefit changes, such as raising the retirement age. Costs are expected to increase as more baby boomers retire, especially since there are fewer workers in the younger generation.
While SSD benefits funds were earlier predicted to run out in 2032, there were fewer applications for disability benefits, leading to the longer prediction in the current report. However, this could also point to increased pressure on disability examiners to deny even viable claims for benefits due to austerity demands and a fear of depleting Social Security funds.
People who are unable to work due to their disabilities may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. A disability lawyer may help people deal with the application process from the initial steps through appeals and disability hearings.