Social Security is a promise that the federal government has made to hardworking Arkansans, who have paid into the program and have earned these benefits. I am committed to strengthening Social Security for today’s seniors and future beneficiaries. Further, I believe we must protect and strengthen Social Security, while eliminating fraud and abuse in this program.
The 2016 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds estimated that the Social Security retirement trust fund will be exhausted by 2034. Congress must do more to effectively reform Social Security, prevent unprecedented cuts to benefits, and ensure that Social Security beneficiaries receive the benefits that they have earned and paid into.
In 2017, I introduced H.R. 1540, the Social Security Disability Insurance Return to Work Act, which would modernize the Social Security Administration’s classification of disability beneficiaries. The bill incentivizes returning to work for beneficiaries, who have recovered from their disability, such as an illness. According to the Congressional Research Service, the employment rate among working-age individuals with work-limiting disabilities has fallen from 24.4 percent in 1981 to 14.4 percent in 2013. Many disability beneficiaries are unlikely to return to work even if they have recovered and are ready to go back to work. In 2013, only 0.4 percent of all beneficiaries were removed from disability rolls due to re-employment. Due to the low return to work rates, it is essential that Congress act to implement an efficient, consistent, and accurate disability determination in order to encourage return to work and save taxpayer dollars.
I am committed to look for other long-term solutions, and I will work with my colleagues to institute common sense, bipartisan solutions to ensure the availability of essential Social Security benefits to seniors and disabled individuals both now and in the future.