Paul Ryan has emphasized reforming the Social Security disability program so that disabled workers have more incentive to go back to work. Sources on and off Capitol Hill, liberal and conservative, say that House Republicans are now shaping a proposal in pursuit of that goal.
But depending on the final form it takes, the policy could become a political flash point between Republicans and Democrats—and complicate Congress’s efforts to avert a 20 percent benefit cut to 9 million disabled workers and their families next year…
— National Journal (@nationaljournal) September 8, 2015
Other details will also be watched closely: Would the policy be implemented nationally and permanently, or with a limited authorization? Or does Congress approve pilot projects, with the expectation that if it proves successful, it will be taken nationwide? Everything is said to be on the table.
The general concept isn’t inherently partisan, and there might be a way to structure the policy so that it doesn’t devolve into partisan infighting. A working group from the Bipartisan Policy Center, which looked at options for improving the Social Security disability program and put out a report last month, said that there was “widespread interest” in overhauling the program so that benefits start to decrease gradually as people earn more money but people would be allowed to earn more than the current $1,090 cap.