Supercommittee deadline looming

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The Congressional Supercommittee, created in August as part of the government’s last-minute debt ceiling deal, has until November 23 to release its recommendations for reducing the federal deficit, and potentially overhauling many of the nation’s services for people with disabilities.

A social security card with paper money in the background

Changes Contemplated

Details of the 12-member committee’s plans have been minimal, as Democrats have pushed for increased tax revenue measures to fund government services while Republicans have pushed for cuts to health care and entitlement programs.

One proposal that has been floated with large scale implications for people with disabilities is to change Social Security’s formula for measuring inflation. Under the proposal, the current consumer price index would be replaced with a chained consumer price index, which is designed to measure changing preferences in consumer behavior as prices increase.

The proposal, which has been strongly protested by AARP, would result in fewer future benefits for not only the the Social Security retirement program, but also the Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplement Security Income programs.

Under the August debt ceiling deal, the committee was instructed to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. The committee’s recommendations, along with being released by November 23, would have to be approved by Congress by December 23 to avoid triggering automatic cuts. The automatic cuts would exempt Medicaid and Social Security, but would constitute a two percent reduction in fees to Medicare providers and likely harm other programs impacting people with disabilities.

 

Art by iStockphoto.com.