Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
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McCrery and Pomeroy Announce Effort to Improve the Social Security Disability Insurance Program

For Immediate Release September 16, 2014

Former Congressmen Jim McCrery (R-LA) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) today launched the McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative, a bipartisan effort to identify potential improvements to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

The goal of the initiative is to provide policymakers with a menu of options to improve the SSDI program well in advance of the program’s 2016 projected insolvency date. The initiative will solicit ideas for concrete and practical reforms that improve various aspects of the SSDI program. The proposed ideas will be subject to a rigorous review process, be presented at a conference in 2015, and then published along with recommendations from the initiative co-chairs.

McCrery and Pomeroy both served as chairmen of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee during their time in Congress and have retained an interest in the SSDI program. The co-chairs will be advised by an Advisory Council of experts representing a diverse range of experiences and perspectives.

“The SSDI trust fund is going to run out of money in only two years, and policymakers have done little to prepare,” said Congressman McCrery, who chaired the Social Security Subcommittee in 2005 and 2006. “We’ve both spent enough time in Washington to know that Congress usually waits to act until the last minute, but sometimes the last minute is too late. Our goal is to provide elected officials with thoughtful and practical improvements to the program so they aren’t scrambling for answers under a deadline.”                                                                                   

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative will solicit papers and proposals on topics related to the determination process, eligibility rules, encouraging labor force attachment, program integrity, interactions with other federal and state programs, and other areas of the program.

“We both care deeply about the disability program and those who it serves. But pretending everything is great isn’t a strategy to protect the program – it’s denial,” said Congressman Pomeroy, who chaired the Social Security Subcommittee in 2010. “We need to make sure this system continues to provide support to the 11 million beneficiaries who count on it to pay their bills. But we also need to do a better job supporting Americans with disabilities who want to remain in or re-enter the workforce, making sure the determination process is fair and not overly cumbersome, and assuring the 165 million Americans who pay into the program that their money is being used wisely.”

“We need to make SSDI financially solvent so workers with disabilities are not faced with huge cuts like the 20 percent across-the-board cut projected under current law if Congress doesn’t act,” added McCrery, “but perhaps more importantly, we need to make the program work better for beneficiaries, taxpayers, and the economy.”

“The imminent depletion of the SSDI trust fund will prompt a debate on changes to the program. It is important that policymakers have thoughtful, well-vetted proposals that can receive bipartisan support. That is what this initiative intends to provide,” concluded Pomeroy.

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is a project of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The initiative will issue an open call for papers later this month to begin soliciting ideas.


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