Social Security

About the SSDI Solutions Initiative

The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative is a project dedicated to identifying practical policy changes to improve the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and other services for people with disabilities. Launched in 2014, the first phase of the project focused on generating new policy ideas through a call for papers, a rigorous peer review process, and an academic conference. Twelve of the most promising ideas were drafted and compiled into an edited volume, SSDI Solutions: Ideas to Strengthen the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, along with recommendations from the project co-chairs and several other chapters providing background on SSDI and policy options to improve it. This book was supplemented with a variety of issue explainers, proposal summaries, slide decks, appendix chapters, and op-eds, along with a number of events, roundtables, and listening sessions.

When the initiative was first launched, the SSDI trust fund was just two years from depleting its reserves, and prompt legislative action was needed. Thankfully, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 extended the life of the SSDI trust fund and also included several programmatic improvements. At the same time, much is left to be done to help ensure the program is best serving those with disabilities as well as workers who pay into the program.

In 2018, the SSDI Solutions Initiative announced the launch of a second phase of the project. This second phase will build on the proposals made in SSDI Solutions by commissioning a series of papers devoted to additional research and important design details. The goal will be to provide policymakers in Congress, the executive branch (including the Social Security Administration), and states the tools they need to move forward in developing and implementing new improvements and reforms.

The SSDI Solutions Initiative is co-chaired by Former Congressmen Jim McCrery (R-LA) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and is a project of the Fiscal Institute at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Project Co-Chairs

Jim McCrery

Former Congressman Jim McCrery served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 21 years. He was a member of the Ways and Means Committee from 1993 through 2008, serving as a ranking member from 2007-2008. Previously, he was Chairman of the Social Security and the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittees.

As ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman McCrery worked closely with Chairman Rangel and other Democratic members to craft bipartisan approaches on health care and trade matters. As a member of the Health Subcommittee for 14 years, Mr. McCrery helped draft and pass a number of major health care bills, including the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

While Congressman McCrery is widely acknowledged as being well-versed on policy issues, he also understands the political side of Washington, having served for ten years on the executive committee of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Former Congressman Jim McCrery is currently a partner with Capitol Counsel LLC, where he counsels clients on tax, trade, and health care issues.

Earl Pomeroy

Former Congressman Earl Pomeroy represented his home state of North Dakota for 18 years as the state's lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives and eight years as Insurance Commissioner.

As Congressman, Mr. Pomeroy served on the Ways and Means and Agriculture Committees, including as Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee. In keeping with his insurance regulatory experience, he was a leader in health, pension and group insurance issues. In Congress, Mr. Pomeroy had a reputation for centrist practical approaches to public policy issues and a willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion.

As Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Pomeroy served as President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, where he advanced a program of minimum standards for financial regulation by state insurance departments, which is still operative today. As Commissioner, he chaired a number of health insurance committees, including small group market reform and standardization of Medicare supplement policies.

Mr. Pomeroy is currently an attorney at Alston + Bird law firm, where he is a member of the health policy group.

Project Staff

This project is supported by staff from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Mike Murphy, Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Initiatives
Marc Goldwein, Senior Vice President and Senior Policy Director
Chris Towner, Policy Analyst
Colin Achilles, Program Associate and Assistant to the Chief of Staff
David Barnes, Consultant (Phase I)
Alexandra De Filippo (Phase I)
Corbin Evans (Phase I)

Erich Hartman (Phase I and II)

Advisory Council (Phase I)

The first phase of the SSDI Solutions Initiative was assisted by a diverse group of experts and practitioners. Their role was to provide advice, guidance, and feedback to the project's staff and co-chairs, but they were not asked or expected to support or endorse any recommendation or set of recommendations. The Advisory Council included:

  • Lawrence Atkins, Long-Term Quality Alliance
  • Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise Institute
  • Barbara Butz, PolicyWorks & The Capstone Consulting, Inc.
  • Mary C. Daly, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
  • Marty Ford, The Arc
  • Steve Goss, Social Security Administration
  • Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution
  • Andrew Houtenville, Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire
  • Andrew Imparato, Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Neil Jacobson, Abilicorp
  • Stanford Ross, Arnold & Porter LLP
  • Robert D. Reischauer, Urban Institute
  • C. Eugene Steuerle, Urban Institute
  • William C. Taylor, Social Security Administration (retired)
  • Rebecca Vallas, Center for American Progress

Section 508 Compliance

The SSDI Solutions Initiative is committed to complying with Section 508 standards. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d), as amended in 1998, is a federal law that requires agencies to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to electronic information and data comparable to those who do not have disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. The Section 508 standards are the technical requirements and criteria that are used to measure conformance within this law. More information on Section 508 and the technical standards can be found at www.section508.gov.