It is no secret that Republicans are generally looking to trim spending, and some of their favorite places to make cuts are social programs. Keeping with this theme, President Donald Trump is looking to slash Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) over the next several years.
While this is not surprising, what is somewhat ironic is that regions that helped carry Trump to the Oval Office are also most likely to be home to Americans drawing SSDI benefits.
In fact, researchers have termed this area the "Disability Belt" - an area extending from Appalachia, through the South, and into the Mississippi Delta.
According to Bloomberg’s Joshua Green, nine of the 10 countieswith the highest share of working-age adults on SSDI voted for Trump, with each of those nine giving him at least 70 percent of the vote; all but one of those nine counties are in Appalachian West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky, right in the middle of the Disability Belt. An analysis by the Center for American Progress, provided to Vox, found that the SSDI receipt rate in counties Trump won was 12 percent, compared to 9 percent in counties he lost.
So what can Trump's supporters expect now that he is in office? The president is proposing cuts of $72.5 billion to SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), over 10 years.
President Trump would cut SSI payments for families with multiple household members with disabilities, reduce the amount of back pay insurance applicants get upon being accepted (to cover costs of living during the application process), and eliminate certain policies in some states meant to be more generous to beneficiaries. But the biggest cost saver listed, accounting for two-thirds of the cuts, is for unspecified reforms to disability programs meant to boost work.
As Vox points out, programs intended to increase workforce participation could end up costing more money than leaving benefits as they are, while trimming benefits harms those who need it.
It would entail subsidized jobs programs, transportation funding for disabled people who can’t drive, funding for home health aides or assisted living centers, job retraining programs, and much more. Cuts accomplish nothing besides hurting SSDI beneficiaries and future applicants.