Medicare Social Security What's Buzzing

Trump administration proposes rule that would take benefits from people with SSDI

Written by Diane Archer

Arthur Delaney reports for The Huffington Post on a Trump administration proposed rule which would make it harder to receive Social Security disability benefits and Medicare, if you are under 65. If finalized, the rule is expected to take SSDI benefits from thousands people with disabilities.

As it is, it is very difficult to qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). The majority of people who apply are denied benefits.  But, some people who do qualify for benefits may now be at risk of losing them.

The administration’s proposal could hurt tens of thousands of Americans. If the policy becomes law, some people with disabilities will need to get certified as disabled more frequently. 

The administration argues that some of the eight million people with disabilities receiving SSDI benefits should not be receiving them. It believes that there are many older workers with conditions that were likely to improve when they received SSDI who no longer qualify for SSDI because their conditions have improved. It claims that these people are able to work, and it wants them off Social Security. 

The administration claims that the proposed added reviews would identify people who no longer qualify. But, it could also cut people off of SSDI who do qualify. For example, people with disabilities are at risk of losing their benefits if they are unaware of the need for an additional review or unable to navigate the review process even if their conditions have not improved. If the rule goes into effect, the Trump administration expects to conduct 2.6 million additional reviews.

To be clear, reviews are already in place for SSDI recipients, depending upon whether they are classified as having conditions that are “expected to improve,” “possible to improve” or “not expected to improve.” The Trump proposed rule would add a fourth category of “likely to improve.” This category fits between “possible to improve” and “expected to improve.”

The Trump administration hopes to save Social Security two hundred million dollars a year in benefit outlays. It also plans to spend an additional $180 million a year on reviews. The net gain is $20 million a year and the loss could be thousands of people wrongly cut off disability benefits.

At this point, the rule is not in effect. And, there is no indication when it will become final or whether a lawsuit or public pressure could stop the rule from going into effect. Calling the Trump administration proposal “harmful and unjustified,” more than 140 members of Congress have signed open letters urging SSA to withdraw it.

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