New Changes Could Mean Re-Approval
The Social Security Administration has proposed new rules on the nature and frequency of Continuing Disability reviews. This new proposal is complex, but in general, it would require millions of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries to re-prove their eligibility for benefits as often as every six months. This is far more frequently than what is currently required.
There is no justification for this policy. The United States already has some of the strictest eligibility criteria for disability benefits in the world. As it stands today, more than half of all claims are denied. The less than 50% of claims that are approved, must then go through an extremely rigorous analysis of a claimant’s condition and work ability.
It is our opinion that if an individual is granted benefits, they are suffering from, genuine and well documented, impairments that preclude them from performing substantial work activity. It is unlikely that they will be returned to normal functional health in the near future. It is unfair and unreasonable to require a beneficiary to complete the disability analysis process within months of being granted benefits.
Extensive Requirements, Too Frequently
Currently, most claims are considered for review every two years. At that point in time, medical evidence for current treatment is requested and reviewed for medical improvement.
Under the new rule, a full analysis of a disability recipient’s condition, medical records, credibility and work capacity is performed. The paperwork required of a disabled individual will be extensive and the work on the part of the Social Security Administration will also be extensive and time consuming. In particular, disabled individuals have difficulty gathering information, filling out forms and meeting deadlines. Expecting them to do this on a near continual basis is unreasonable.
Some recipients of disability benefits achieve medical improvement that would allow them to return to work. However, our opinion is that a requirement of a frequent and continual analysis of a disabled person’s condition and work capacity is burdensome. This creates a drain, not only the individual who receives the benefits, but on the system.
The Social Security Administration staff is already overburdened and understaffed. The average wait time for analysis of a claim and receipt of benefits, for a person who is deemed disabled and entitled to benefits, can be over 18 months. The extensive man hours needed of the Social Security Administration staff to allow for the increased reviews would be a waste of current low resources and could possibly cause further delay in benefits.
You can read the full rule here.
Make Your Voice Heard and Act Now!
We urge our clients, their friends and families to make their voice heard. All those who believe that individuals receiving disability benefits have a credible and genuine disability that prevents them from working, stand with us. Please, make a public comment on this rule and urge the Social Security Administration to not increase the frequency of reviews. We must band together to ensure this ruling doesn’t affect millions of Americans receiving disability.
You can make a public comment before January 16, 2020 here.