Sen. Bernie Sanders warned on Monday that benefits for the disabled and their children could face a 20 percent cut next year if the Senate follows the lead of House Republicans.
“Around 11 million Americans, including nearly 2 million children with a disabled parent, rely on Social Security to help keep them out of poverty,” said Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.
A new House rule creates a legal obstacle course that would make it harder to shift funds from the Social Security retirement account, which has a big surplus, to the smaller disability account. Such transfers have been done routinely in the past under both Republican and Democratic presidencies, including four times under President Ronald Reagan.
Without a transfer to shore up the disability fund, Social Security Administration experts say the disability program will run short of money next year and there will be only enough to cover 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“Instead of working to strengthen Social Security for all, the House Republicans’ new rule puts America’s most vulnerable at risk,” Sanders said.
Sanders joined Senate Democratic leaders who today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging him not to adopt the same rule as the House.
“Holding hostage the Social Security benefits of any American, particularly those of the 9 million Americans with disabilities who are at risk in the coming years, is an untenable proposition,” the letter said.