Family struggles as nation’s disability benefits face cuts

Millions of people who depend on disability checks to pay medical bills face steep cuts to their benefits. On Wednesday the nation learned the Social Security disability trust fund is running out of money. 

A pile of medical records doesn't even begin to show the medical costs Heather Cheek and her family face.

"She's had two cataract surgeries just in the last year. She needs glasses that are not covered by disability insurance," Cheek said. 

Her daughter, Sarah Derrick, who was too weak to talk on camera, has diabetes and stage three kidney disease. Derrick also battles a long list of other medical problems.

"It's so hard on a family, not just emotionally, but financially," Cheek said.

The family relies on a $500 disability check to help Sarah make it day to day, but after Wednesday's announcement by Social Security trustees cheek feels helpless.

"We just can't do it and still take care of her like she needs to be taken care of," Cheek said.

Sarah has a long list of medications, and even now her disability check can't cover those costs.

"I get to feeling like we shouldn't ask for help, because there's so many other people out there that are having such a hard time," Cheek said.

Now, a family that has already lost so much can only hope.

"All the rest is material, but I need her here," Cheek said.

A GoFundMe page is set up online for anyone looking to help the family pay for medical bills. They're also trying to be able to afford to give Sarah a trip to Universal Studios so she has something other then spending time in the hospital to look forward to.  

Eleven million people receive disability benefits. Trustees say they could be cut by 19 percent. They say the money say they have plenty of retirement funds. They say if disability funds were combined with those, they would have enough money to pay full benefits until 2034.

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