The Trump Administration’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, recently stated: “If you ask 999 people out of 1,000 [they] would tell you that Social Security disability is not part of Social Security.”
At the time, Mr. Mulvaney was explaining a budget proposal that would slash $72 billion in disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income over the next ten years. But what he does not seem to grasp is that cutting funds for SSD is a direct blow to the idea of social insurance. The point of Social Security is to protect against the risk that income will be lost due to retirement, death, or disability.
The SSD program was created under the Eisenhower presidency. Both workers and employers contribute to the disability insurance fund through their payroll tax contributions. Workers only qualify for benefits if they’ve worked the equivalent of at least 10 years, with adjustments made for younger disabled workers, just as they must to collect Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare.
But as Mr. Mulvaney believes, SSD is “a very wasteful program, and we want to try and fix that.”