[Nfbnet-members-list] Legislative Alert and Call to Action

Diggs, Parnell PDiggs at nfb.org
Thu Oct 29 16:10:04 UTC 2015

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, a budget deal between the White 
House and the outgoing Speaker of the House, John 
Boehner, was reached earlier this week. The bill, 
which passed the House last evening by a vote of 
266 to 167, includes provisions which will impact 
the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) 
program.  The National Federation of the Blind 
does not have a position on the bill as a whole, 
but we definitely have feelings about those parts 
of the bill dealing with SSDI issues.

If no action is taken, the SSDI Trust Fund will 
be insolvent by December of 2016, resulting in a 
20 percent across-the-board cut in benefits. This 
legislation would guarantee the solvency of the 
SSDI Trust Fund through 2022. We find this aspect 
of the bill to be extremely helpful.

SSDI Provisions

As part of a demonstration project, the Social 
Security Administration will select a subgroup 
(the size of the subgroup is not prescribed in 
the legislation) from among all SSDI 
beneficiaries to participate in a benefit offset 
earnings test. The demonstration project is 
strictly voluntary. Participants in this 
voluntary demonstration project would not be 
subject to the $1,820 earnings limit, but rather 
to a $2-for-$1 phase-out of benefits. This is 
what we have been asking for, but here’s the 
rub­the phase-out will start at $810 and will be 
based upon Impairment Related Work Expenses 
(IRWE) under this legislation. If you claim IRWE 
totaling $810 or less, your benefit offset would 
start at $810. On the other hand, if you claim 
between $811 and $1,820 in IRWE, your $2-for-$1 
phase-out of benefits will start at your IRWE amount.

Call to Action

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R.1314) is 
now headed to the Senate. Please call your 
senators today, either directly to their offices, 
or through the United States Capitol switchboard 
at (202) 224-3121, and ask them to support two 
edits (which might be thought of as technical 
amendments) to the SSDI provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

1.     Amend Section 822 so that SSDI 
beneficiaries can participate in the demonstration project upon request.
2.     Amend Section 823 by replacing all 
references to the term “Impairment Related Work 
Expenses” for blind beneficiaries with the term 
“Blind Work Expenses,” which are broader, more 
favorable, and are already available in the SSI program.

All state presidents and Federation leaders 
should set the example and make the calls to 
their senators, keeping in mind that this item is 
very time-sensitive. Please call me with any 
questions using the below contact information.

As always, fellow Federationists, thanks for all you do.

Very sincerely,

Parnell Diggs, Esq.
Director of Government Affairs
National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Office: (410) 659-9314, extension 2222
Mobile: (843) 267-2018
Email: <mailto:pdiggs at nfb.org>pdiggs at nfb.org
Twitter: @NFB_Voice

The National Federation of the Blind knows that 
blindness is not the characteristic that defines 
you or your future. Every day we raise the 
expectations of blind people, because low 
expectations create obstacles between blind 
people and our dreams. You can live the life you 
want; blindness is not what holds you back.

<https://nfb.org/make-gift>Make a gift to the 
National Federation of the Blind and help ensure 
all blind Americans live the lives they want.

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