[Nfbnet-members-list] Legislative Alert and Call to Action
PDiggs at nfb.org
Thu Oct 29 16:10:04 UTC 2015
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.
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 heres 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.
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
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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