The number of Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits reportedly is dropping at a brisk pace.
The New York Times explained that the shocking about-face is “the latest evidence of a stronger economy pulling people back into the job market or preventing workers from being sidelined” in the first place.
The drop is so significant that the agency has revised its estimates of how long the program will continue to be financially secure, the Times reported.
The decrease also reflects “newly tightened standards for eligibility and the increasing number of baby boomers who are leaving the program because they have become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare,” the Times reported.
Fewer than 1.5 million Americans applied to the Social Security Administration for disability coverage last year, the lowest since 2002. Applications are running at an even lower rate this year, the Timnes cited government officials as saying.
However, the Associated Press recently reported that Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected, and Social Security’s financial problems can’t be ignored.
The report from program trustees says Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 — three years earlier than previously forecast. Its giant trust fund for inpatient care won’t be able to fully cover projected medical bills starting at that point.
The sobering government checkup on programs vital to the middle class says Social Security will become insolvent in 2034 — no change from the projection last year.
The warning serves as a reminder of major issues still languishing while Washington plunges deeper into partisan strife. Because of the deterioration in Medicare’s finances, officials said the Trump administration will be required by law to send Congress a plan next year to address the problems, after the president’s budget is submitted.
But some experts caution that the mainstream media only whips the public into a frenzy for no valid reason.
“It is true that Social Security and Medicare face financial challenges. But neither is headed for insolvency, bankruptcy or other dire futures,” Mark Miller, a Reuters columnist, recently explained.
“How do I know this? By taking a careful look at the trustee reports – and by considering the various parts of both programs, which have different funding sources and face different challenges,” Miller explained.
Medicare and Social Security both face financial challenges that need fixing. But carelessly tossing around inaccurate words like ‘insolvency’ creates needless worry for workers and retirees who count on these programs, Miller said. The solutions are readily available whenever politicians and policymakers decide it is time to act, Miller said.
“Conservative policy experts acknowledge that terms like ‘insolvency’ are tossed around carelessly,” he explained.
“The media has an unfortunate tendency to focus on the hospital insurance fund without considering the bigger picture,” said Robert Moffit, senior fellow in the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies, speaking at the same AEI forum.
“Saying that Medicare is going bankrupt is not a rational description of what is happening,” he added. “The hospital fund hasn’t gone bankrupt in the last half century, and I can’t imagine it will in the next half century,” Moffitt said.
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).
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