The rights of totally disabled workers
to benefits earned while- they were' well
were protected. The retirement test was
mollified. In brief, the amendments
passed last year put the system in prett)
good shape, though there are slill inevitably some minor inequities which
should be correct,',1 over the years.
However, these improvements seemed
to muke the Democrats unhappy. Credit
for them belonged rightfully to the Re-
publicun administration and the Republican Congress. So lust .lime in a eein-
ference held by Speaker Rayburn ami
the Democratic majority of lie- Ways
and Means Committee-, tluv decided I"
\ -uilde'ii announcement wa- made-
tbut the Democratic Congress would pass
three importanl change- in the system:
1. Immediate payment of the same
monthly benefits that they woulel receive if llicv were 65 lo all those- who
became permanently and totally disabled:
2. Lowering of lhe retirement age of
all women to 62;
3. Continuation of monthly benefits
for children who become- permanently
and totally disabled before age 1".
LACK OF CONSIDERATION EVIDENT
They announced that there woulel l„
no public hearings, but that thev expected lo reporl out the bill after three
days of executive sessions of tin- Ways
and Mi-ems Committee. The lack of consideration which llicy bud given these
proposals wei- evident by the fact lhat
at a later date llicy were shocked t.>
hear from the actuaries of the system
that the plan as announced would cosl
tbe trust fund at least three bill] le.l-
lars annually over the years.
Republican members of th,- Committee protested thi- unseemly baste, ami
demanded public hearings. \\ hen this
wa- turned down by a strict peirtv vote,
I made a motion that insurance actuaries be called before the Committee in
give- their judgment us to the cosl of
the disability program, a mallei with
which insurance companies heul some
When ibis weis again defeated bv a
party vote. I then moved that representatives of doctors' organizations l„-
called before the Committee to explain
how they cenl.I determine what is per-
manent and total disability. Thi- again
was turned down by a unanimous vote
of tbe Democrat membei-.
The Secretary of the Department of
Health, Education und Welfare, in a
letter to Chairman Cooper of the Committee, also protested the closed bear-
ings and the hasty consideration that
W hen the ('ommittee met. e-vcu though
the Democrats wen- in full control, llicy
were not able to curry out their plan
for reporting the bill in three eleiv-.
Thev seemed somewhat uncertain a- to
tin wisdom of some of the' proposals
announced; in fact, thev made suggestions for modifications, voted them
into tbe bill, and then Filer back-tracked
ami voteel them out. In their public
statement thev hail made no mention
of taxes tei pay the- additional cost, but
thev accepted a motion to increase the
lax by I per cent next vear. Thev also
accepted a Republican motion t.. e-xte-ml
coverage to certain self-employed pro-
Fessional groups, such eis lawyers ami
dentists. Hut alter over six days of
executive sessions, the- bill w ils reported
lo the House eiml it passed overwhelmingly. Few in the House dared vote
againsl anything which woulel increase
Social Security benefits for 90 ineinv
The bill went oyer to the Senate.
There Senator Byrd. Chairman of the
Senate Finance Committee, announced
that be would not consider it without
careful studv ami hearings. The Senate
is planning to bold these healings next
J.um.n v [this month].
BILL COULD WRECK OASI SYSTEM
Now many of the objectives of this
bill are worthy. We all know ed many
individuals whose' cages un- appealing
who will benefit by its provisions. But
no individual can afford to insure biin-
self against all the hazards of human
existence, nor can tin- federal government eh, -ee eithe-r by taxing him for this
I nder the bill passed bv the House.
the- tax rule twenty years from now will
rise to 41/> per cent on employer ami
I'-j per cent on employee. I nder tin-
bill, the- >..i ieil Security leix rate on se-lf-
employed w ill then be (>''■, per cent, or
$283.50 for tin- individual who is earning SI20H a vear. Thi- will be- more
than he will peiy in federal income lax
under presenl law, if he is the' average
citizen with a wife and two children.
The bill troubles me greatly. It seems
that we have' casually passed legislation
winch may in future wreck the whole
contributory 0AS1 system. The tax rate
I mentioned i- so high that passage of
these increased benefits may well pre-
vent any other improvements in the
system in future.
\le- these three item- the- most i---.ii-
tieel changes which should be made?
Extending the survivorship payments
to disabled children over eighteen has
much in its favor anil is eomparat'*
Lllll ill.- lill IIIMH. 111.' 1II..SI i s^ll
proposal as the bill is written is "
which reduces the' retirement uge I**1 '
women lo 02. Is this the most imp'1' .
change tbat shoulel be made in the_ .
tern? Shoulel this have priority
everything else'.-' Reducing tin- ij
which widow- receive benefits
Those whose husbands died after'
wives had reached a mature age.
cannot get a job al 60. And to redtt
age when they will receive benefits'p
would be an improvement I hav1'P f
But with lhe growth of the- life
einel the- impi-ovemenl in tin- heal
our population, is it wise to discO"
those w,nn,ai w ho w i-h lo wink
the age of 62? If Ibis age is establ
for Social Securit) purpose--, will A
same pattern be adopted b)
industry? You will remember thi
dent Eisenhower jusl lust week V,^
business to employ more older C& • .'
-ei i • ■ • r K"
I he other expensive proposition traru.
proposal lo grant Social Security r, -
fits to those who become t<>t;ill?0|j,.|(,
eilele-.l. Thc original estimate of
this proposal by the actuaries
Social Security system was cut '
to about u billion dollars a year ljL(j ,i
he originally announced Dem(lvjn„
iroposal which was to peiv beiiej |i(>i.
action of the
all permanently and totally ili-eil,l''"nder
limiting ll I., those who were •"'" in, .
Old. S |1„.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC u,. ,,
Bul this proposition, if ei.lvi--' -,-,.;,
one we should enter inlo on'*
very serious consideration, li i^ '
liia-lv new field. The monev i on*1
by employer and employee was P -j-^
in the trust fund to pay benefit*
retirement, in to sun ivors up"" '
Insurance companies have had " Soni
perienees in attempting this tvp'iiiu
surance. It is the opinion of i*1' 19:'
their actuaries that the estimate lined
by the S.„ ial Security Vdniin'"' idei
as Iii the lost of Ibis plan is feu ''' I he
The Administration, eiml I *w |i
concur in their program. h-r ' die
-Ir.—ing rehabilitation. Nearly '''' '"'
dividual, whatever his handicap- '-n I
be eibh' to contribute to tic
welfare. If a man is lo receive »o2 a
stantial cash payment when be
disability, is not this going H
interfere with his incentive foi"/T,"^<
tation? Determination of who |S ;!" •'<■
ubled is one which doctors f<
administratively most difficult.
Facts Fonuxt News, Janinl<rm