Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund Now Solvent Through 2022
On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget act of 2015 into law. The bill extends the solvency of the DI Trust Fund through 2022, effectively staving off a 19% benefit cut that would have taken effect at the end of 2015.
The law includes a number of other provisions, such as raising the debt ceiling into the first part of 2017 following the presidential election, increasing non-defense discretionary spending, setting parameters for the federal budget for the next two years, thus reducing the likelihood of a government shutdown, and putting off an increase in Medicare Part B premiums.
The law also eliminates the “single decision maker” test in 20 states. A pilot program since 1999, the “single decisionmaker” test allows a disability examiner to make an initial disability determination without getting a medical or psychological consultant to sign off on it. According to the new law, the Commissioner must make “every reasonable effort” to get the relevant part of the case review to a qualified medical consultant for a signature.
Among other things, the bill also requires Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) units to be set up in every state, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories by 2022 as an anti-fraud measure, and prevents the Social Security Administration (SSA) from giving consideration to evidence provided by a person or institution that has been convicted of certain felonies, banned from participation in a federal health program, or penalized for submitting false evidence according to section 1129 of the Social Security Act.
The law does include a “good cause” provision attached to its anti-fraud measures that outlines when evidence submitted by the aforementioned sources can be given consideration.