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The fate of disability benefits rides on Obama’s new budget idea

Published on April 12th, 2013

Funding for Social Security Disability is going to run out by 2016. Or at least that’s what the so-called experts are saying. We’ve seen the headlines on news sources across the web with no for-certain validation from the federal government.

What we do know from the Social Security Administration is that disability claims have been on a steady increase since 2003 and skyrocketed when the recession cost millions of Americans their jobs nationwide. So what is the plan then to make sure that the more than 8.8 million people on Social Security Disability continue receiving benefits in the decades to come?

Small steps towards increasing healthcare, say some. In fact, it’s a sentiment President Obama seems to support when you consider the $235 million he is requesting for mental healthcare as part of his new budget proposal. Though this only takes care of a part of the disability cases in the U.S., there is no doubting that it is a growing area that truly needs help.

“We cannot ignore the fact that 60 percent of people with mental health conditions…don’t receive the care they need,” explains Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Increased funding for mental health care could increase a person’s chances of diagnosing a condition early and allow them better access to mental health services for treatment for their disorder.

The likely hope of Obama’s budget proposal is to increase a person’s ability to access affordable healthcare so as to decrease their dependency on disability benefits to cover a majority of their healthcare costs. With disability benefits averaging around $1,100 a month, having free or reduced healthcare could make a huge difference to a lot of people who rely on SSD for financial security.

Source: ABC News, “Obama Budget Includes $235 Million For Mental Health Care,” Gillian Mohney, April 10, 2013

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