The trustees who oversee Social Security and Medicare report that the disability trust fund will run out of money in late 2016, triggering an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits unless Congress acts.
Revenues, which come mainly from payroll taxes, only will cover 81 percent of scheduled benefit payments.
The report sets up a fight between President Obama and congressional Republicans. Obama wants to replenish the disability trust fund by shifting some payroll tax revenues from Social Security’s retirement trust fund.
But Republicans want more significant changes to improve the program’s finances, such as cuts in disability benefits, restrictions on eligibility, new measures to combat fraud or new strategies to help people go back to work.
In January, Republicans adopted a new House rule that could block a direct reallocation of money at the expense of the trust fund that provides benefits for retirees.