Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Disabled people worried about proposed benefits changes

Many disabled people have been worried by recent indications that the Trump administration is considering reducing disability benefits, or making it harder for disabled people to apply for or keep their benefits.

Some of the worry stems from recent statements from the president himself. When asked by a reporter recently, President Trump said his administration will consider cutting Medicare and other benefits programs.

Even more concerning is a proposed rule change. Under the proposal, the Social Security Administration would increase the frequency of reviews of people who are currently receiving benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. After a person has successfully applied for disability benefits through one of these programs, the SSA periodically reviews their status, in order to determine if they are still in need of the benefits. Currently, the SSA conducts these reviews once every three years, unless it has determined the need for review should be waived.

The SSA places currently places benefits recipients into one of three categories, depending on the likelihood that they will recover from their disability: Medical Improvement Expected, Medical Improvement Possible and Medical Improvement Not Expected. A benefit recipient's category determines how often their case will be reviewed.

If it goes into effect, the proposed rule will add a fourth category: Medical Improvement Likely. Benefits recipients fitting into this category will see their cases reviewed every two years, instead of every three. The SSA estimates this will lead to millions more status reviews every year, with some of the people affected potentially losing their benefits.

It can be a struggle for disabled people to successfully apply for the benefits they need. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to keep them. It can be important for the disabled and their families to have help from a skilled attorney.

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