Proposed Cuts To Social Security Disability Benefits
The Trump Administration has announced proposed cuts to disability benefits. These cuts come in the form of new rules for the Social Security Disability program, and these new rules could affect tens of thousands of people. Let’s examine some of the proposed cuts to Social Security Disability benefits:
The proposed rules would require more frequent paperwork checks of people who receive Social Security disability benefits. This process would be known as a “continuing disability review.”
These new cuts have shocked some people who advocate for people with disabilities. These advocates say this is the Trump Administration’s “backdoor way” to cut people from a program that already takes years in many cases for disabled people to receive benefits. The Social Security Disability program has also been criticized recently for wrongly denying benefits.
Currently, more than 16 million adults and children receive disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) says that of these 16 million, it expects to conduct 4.4 million additional continuing disability reviews over the next 10 years. To conduct all these reviews, the SSA expects to spend an additional $1.6 billion in administrative costs to cut $2.8 billion in benefits by knocking people off the disability program.
Advocates for people with disabilities estimate that tends of thousands of disabled people will lose their benefits if these new rules are enacted.
The Proposed Rules
Under the new system, people who receive disability benefits would be required to submit medical, income, and asset records as well as documentation about their living arrangements. Then, an SSA staff member would decide whether the person gets to keep his or her benefits.
The frequency of the reviews will depend on which of three categories the person on disability is in. People with debilitating or terminal illnesses would be reviewed every 5 – 7 years; those who have conditions where improvement is possible would be reviewed every 3 years; and, those whose conditions are deemed “likely to improve” wold be reviewed every 2 years. Children who receive disability would be reassessed at ages 6 and 12.
What’s The Controversy?
The proposed new rules are controversial because they will require people who are on disability to submit large volumes of paperwork. This submission process can be complicated and very time consuming.
Others also question how feasible it will be to increase the numbers of reviews since that will mean that the doctors who are involved in the review process will need to review many more case files in a much more limited time frame. Recently, a Tennessee study found that it’s nearly impossible for doctors to review disability claims at such a fast pace without wrongfully rejecting many claims.
Lastly, still others are questioning how much money the SSA will actually save by doing these reviews. Some budget analysts believe that the savings may only be about $1.50 for every dollar spent on the reviews.
The History of the Disability Program
When the Social Security Disability program was initially proposed, there was a lot of resistance to giving disability benefits. One of the major concerns was the difficulty in determining whether someone was actually disabled or whether he or she still had some ability to work.
Social Security Amendments of 1977 and 1980
The first real attempt at controlling the rising costs of the Social Security Disability program was in 1977. This attempt included trying to control the amount of the benefit that disabled persons would receive. The 1977 amendments changed the formula for calculating the initial disability benefit, making that benefit lower than it had originally been.
In 1980, even more amendments established a new family maximum and various incentives were created to encourage disabled people to try to return to work. During this time, periodic reviews were held every 3 years.
After the 1980 amendments were enacted, there was so much opposition to the new rules that Congress eventually had to reverse some of them.
What Happens Next?
A public comment period on the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the disability review process is open until January 31st. After that time, the rules can be approved.
What Makes Ritchie Law Firm Different?
Many Virginia lawyers say they practice Social Security Disability law. But, most of those lawyers have not had years of experience winning Social Security Disability cases. That’s what makes us different. At the Ritchie Law Firm, we have a team of lawyers who have the experience of handling Social Security Disability cases and WINNING. Sure, we also handle personal injury cases. But, Social Security Disability cases are a different beast. And, we know how to handle them.
If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, our disability team will review your denial letter for FREE. Then, with no obligation and NO STRINGS ATTACHED, we’ll tell you our game plan for winning your case.
If you want your disability case handled by a team of lawyers trained to handle this difficult area of the law that few lawyers know the first thing about, your search is over. Whatever stage of applying for benefits you are in, whether you haven’t yet applied or you’ve been denied, we are happy to help. Click here to give us some details about your case.
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