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The Coming Crisis: Social Security Disability Trust Fund Insolvency

BFC SOAR Social Workers Ashley L and Ashley M

BFC SOAR Social Workers Ashley L and Ashley M

Darlene is a 60-year-old DC resident who came to Bread for the City to seek assistance applying for Social Security Disability Benefits through BFC’s SOAR program.*  With help from case workers in our Social Services department, Darlene applied for and received her benefits within a few months.

Social Security disability benefits have made a significant difference in Darlene’s life as she grows older – allowing her to pay rent and utilities in her apartment.  Darlene’s experience is not a rare case –  out of SSDI beneficiaries across the country, seven in ten are age 50 and older, and three in ten are 60 and older.  The average monthly payment of SSDI benefits (benefits based on work history) is $1,017.30, and for many recipients, disability benefits constitute their only income and they are already living close to or below the poverty line.

Recently,there has been political debate on how to handle the long term preservation of these funds.  Some advocates fear that proposed measures in Congress could result in decreased benefits for recipients.

We connected Darlene with Kate Lang of the National Senior Citizens Law Center and on February 11th, Darlene accompanied Ms. Lang as she testified before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee regarding the importance of preserving Social Security disability benefits.**  Ms. Lang shared that Darlene had worked for many years – her first job was with the Social Security Administration — but had to leave the workforce several years ago when she became ill.

At the hearing, Lang, along with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, urged Congress to act expeditiously to protect SSDI benefits by reallocating payroll taxes between Social Security’s retirement trust fund and the disability trust fund, to equalize the solvency of the two funds, and to do so without any cuts to Social Security coverage, eligibility or benefits. This would help those who, like Darlene, depend on these benefits to maintain their stability and quality of life.

Bread for the City applauds Lang and her colleagues at NSCLC and LCAO for fighting for solvency of the Social Security Disability Trust Fund. Without this trust fund, too many of our clients could end up homeless, hungry, or worse.

*BFC’s SOAR program helps clients like Darlene every day and is fully dependent upon community support to operate. Please lend your help today by making a tax-deductible contribution.

**Click here to read Kate Lang’s full Senate testimony “The Coming Crisis: Social Security Disability Trust Fund Insolvency.” For questions about NSCLC, please contact Vanessa Barrington at 510-256-1200 or

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