Most Americans know Social Security as a retirement program. However, Social Security also provides disability benefits and survivor’s benefits to spouses of those who pass away. President Trump’s administration has proposed some significant changes to Social Security. The changes could terminate Social Security Disability Insurance payments to hundreds of thousands of Americans.
What is Social Security Disability?
When Americans are too mentally impaired or physically impaired to work, they may qualify for Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In order to qualify for SSDI, an applicant must have worked for at least 10 years. On the other hand, Social Security Income is for low-income individuals who have rarely or never held employment. Currently, over 8.5 million Americans receive SSDI benefits, and 8 million Americans receive SSI benefits. SSDI benefits are usually $800 to $1,800 per month, and SSI benefits are usually around $770 per month.
What Would the Proposal Change?
If enacted, the new proposal would alter the way in which the Social Security Administration determines whether an applicant qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits. Applying for and securing benefits often takes a significant amount of time. Applicants must submit documents, then plead their case before adjudicators and hearing officers.
Currently, the Social Security Administration uses three categories to determine how often to review a case:
- Medical Improvement Not Expected
- Medical Improvement Expected
- Medical Improvement Possible
The proposed changes would create a fourth category titled “Medical Improvement Likely.” Applicants placed in this category would face mandatory disability reviews every two years. In the first 10-year period, over 2.6 million additional mandatory reviews would take place. As many as 4.4 million SSDI beneficiaries could fall into the “Medical Improvement Likely” category.
Possible Effects of the Proposed Changes
The Trump Administration’s proposed SSDI changes could hurt hundreds of thousands of at-risk Americans. Many of these individuals are in quite poor health without many job skills or much education. Those with debilitating back pain, herniated discs, schizophrenia, and depression could fall into the “Medical Improvement Likely” category when their medical improvement is actually quite unlikely.
Those who take issue with the proposed changes argue that subjecting these individuals to a review every two years will be unnecessarily burdensome and ineffective. Some argue that the new regulation sets at-risk individuals up for failure. Those who support the proposal point out that only mental and physical conditions should make an individual qualified for SSDI.
Applying for SSDI Benefits
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is complicated even without the enactment of the Trump Administration’s new proposal. At Ward Law Group, our skilled disability attorneys have a thorough understanding of the SSDI application process. We use our extensive experience to help our clients prepare timely, thorough, and effective applications. We also work with medical professionals who provide the necessary support for your application. Contact our Manchester, New Hampshire, SSDI law firm today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn how our attorneys can help you.