Saturday, April 29, 2017

Community Independent Living Fund

Community Independent Living Fund

Since retiring from Wells Fargo, I've focused my time and energy to eliminate work disincentives in the current Social Security Disability Programs that inhibit people with disabilities from being employed. Given the current political environment, an entirely new approach may be required. Please read the following and give me feedback.

Currently, there are two separate Social Security trust funds, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund pays retirement and survivors benefits, and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund pays disability benefits. These funds are funded by employers and employees through payroll deductions. I suggest a third fund is needed.

The Community Independent Living Fund will fund personal assistant services, on-going therapies, durable medical equipment and maintenance drugs for workers with disabilities. This Fund will be used by any employee requiring these goods and services who cannot get the services covered by any other program.

By creating a separate funding source for independent living services, health care costs and healthcare insurance premiums should be significantly lowered. Expenses associated with pre-existing conditions should be defrayed by this Fund. Many Social Security Disability recipients stay on Social Security for fear of losing these critical services. By eliminating this fear, many people with disabilities will find employment. Social Security Disability will be able to return to its mission of providing a safety net for people with disabilities who truly cannot work. As more people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) find employment, the costs of these expensive programs should decrease.

As with the two current Social Security trust funds, the Community Independent Living Fund will be funded by a payroll tax. This new payroll tax will be levied after an employee's annual salary exceeds the Social Security cap. Initial funding of the Community Independent Living Fund will be sought from philanthropy. While no one wants new taxes, it is surmised that people will recognize the value of this new fund.

Many details regarding the Community Independent Living Fund must be developed and negotiated. A thorough analysis of the Fund's effect on healthcare, Social Security, the debt and the overall economy must be carefully evaluated.

How can the concept of a Community Independent Living Fund be advanced?