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Congressional Hearing Focuses on CDRs, Trust Fund Concerns

2014 April 11
by Steve Perrigo

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the Social Security disability program, which carried a more pressing tone in light of the anticipated exhaustion of the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund reserves by 2016. Prior to the hearing, two committee members submitted a bi-partisan letter to SSA Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin outlining 11 reforms the federal agency should consider to improve the program’s financial status, including increased continuing disability reviews (CDRs) and adding fraud investigation units.

These themes were continued during Wednesday’s hearing, with the most attention focused on CDR funding, prioritization, and limitations. One specific request, also noted in the letter to Colvin, was to target for CDRs any claims that were awarded by ALJs with allowance rates above 75 percent.

SSA’s representative, Marianna LaCanfora, said the federal agency could achieve significant results with CDRs if Congress appropriated enough funds. However, she added, it would not provide the DI Trust Fund with the savings that Congress is looking for in order to extend the fund’s depletion past 2016. When asked for alternatives, she suggested that Congress reallocate funds from the OASI to the DI trust fund, as it has historically done several times to extend the life of the trust fund.  This approach would not require raising taxes or cutting benefits.

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