Trump budget aims cuts at disabled workers in program

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While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Donald Trump repeatedly vowed that he wouldn’t touch Social Security. But as the 2020 general election nears, his administration is signaling changes that could undermine his pledge. 

Trump has largely continued to voice support for the social safety-net program, which provides retirement benefits for 44.5 million seniors – even though he appeared to backtrack in a January interview when he told CNBC that he’d “take a look” at restructuring entitlement programs. After Democrats accused him of breaking his campaign pledge, Trump restated his earlier vow, writing on Twitter, “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget.”

Yet Trump’s words and his administration’s actions aren’t in alignment.

Case in point: His fiscal 2021 budget, released Monday, includes cuts to the Social Security program. So why aren’t retirees up in arms? That’s because the reductions are aimed at the part of Social Security program that provides benefits to about 8.5 million disabled workers – and not the monthly retirement benefits. 

A person tightly holding a Social Security card between their thumb and index finger.

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The Social Security Disability Insurance program is still part of Social Security, notes Kathleen Romig, senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. 

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