Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
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SSDI Solutions Conference Highlights Possible Improvements for Workers with Disabilities

For Immediate Release August 5, 2015

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative hosted a daylong conference Tuesday highlighting ideas to improve the Social Security Disability Insurance program and other services for people with disabilities.

The culmination of a yearlong effort, the SSDI Solutions Conference featured the presentation of 12 papers selected by the project co-chairs through a “call for papers.” Each paper offered a different policy proposal meant to improve the SSDI program to better serve those with disabilities, those who pay into the program, and society as a whole.

“The disability trust fund is headed toward depletion without legislation to inject some new funds, but yesterday’s conference highlights that this challenge is also an opportunity to make constructive improvements to the program,” said Initiative Co-Chair and former Congressman Earl Pomeroy. “The authors we selected developed a number of practical and thoughtful ideas with the potential to improve the program and, more importantly, improve the lives of workers with disabilities and their families.”

Paper authors presented their proposals at one of four panels over the course of the day covering early intervention and work support, determination and adjudication reform, interaction with other programs, and structural reforms. Each panel included a discussant to provide constructive feedback on the idea, as well as a question and answer session.

The day also featured keynote addresses from Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Bob Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, as well as a wrap-up panel featuring Congressmen McCrery and Pomeroy alongside Social Security experts Mark Warshawsky and Alan Cohen.

“Yesterday’s dialogue was extremely informative, and I think is going to generate a lot of interest on the Hill,” said Initiative Co-Chair and former Congressman Jim McCrery. “While we don’t claim to have all the answers and recognize that no idea is perfect, these are the types of proposals that could be researched, tested, and then eventually expanded. Yesterday’s conference wasn’t the end of the conversation; it was the beginning. We look forward to working with our former colleagues in Congress as they consider these and other ideas to improve the SSDI program.”

Following the conference, project authors will finalize their papers, which will be published alongside co-chair findings in a capstone publication later this year and shared with policymakers in advance of the projected SSDI trust fund exhaustion date.


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