Friday, April 29, 2005

Signs that Bush won't exempt disabled from cuts in Social Security

President's Comments on People with Disabilities and Social Security (x - Marty Ford)

In his televised press conference last night, President Bush outlined parts of his plan for changes to Social Security. His remarks made distinctions between treatment of seniors and treatment of people with disabilities. He stated: "As we fix Social Security, some things won't change: Seniors and people with disabilities will get their checks; all Americans born before 1950 will receive the full benefits." There is an important distinction here. He did NOT say that people with disabilities will receive their FULL BENEFITS (as he did for seniors); he only stated that people with disabilities will get their CHECKS.

Similar distinctions were made when he appointed the Commission to Strengthen Social Security in 2001. Two of his principles for the Commission were: Modernization must not change Social Security benefits for retirees or near-retirees.
Modernization must preserve Social Security?s disability and survivors insurance programs.
The principles did NOT protect BENEFITS for people with disabilities; the principles just protected the disability and survivors PROGRAMS. And, in fact, the Commission?s final proposals in 2001 included cuts in benefits for people with disabilities.

These distinctions in how the President talks about seniors versus people with disabilities are significant. Especially given the final recommendations of the 2001 Commission, we cannot afford to assume that people with disabilities will be protected in the Bush plan. We need to remain vigilant and continue to educate Members of Congress and the public about the importance of Social Security to people with disabilities and to oppose privatization of Social Security.

Marty Ford
The Arc and UCP Disability Policy Collaboration
1660 L St., NW Suite 701
Washington, DC 20036
FAX (202)783-8250

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