According to the Portsmouth Daily Times, a bill has been introduced in the Senate that would expedite the payment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to people suffering from terminal illnesses.
The bill is the Expedited Disability Insurance Payments for Terminally Ill Individuals Act of 2015, and was introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown and John Barrasso. Currently, everyone who applies for SSDI benefits must wait for at least five months before they are allowed to receive benefits.
Under the bill, the five month waiting period for any person diagnosed to be terminally ill would be eliminated, allowing them to receive benefits in the first month of their diagnosis. To seek the expedited payments, a person would need to show prognosis that his or her life expectancy is six months or less, as certified by at least two physicians.
“[SSDI] is a lifeline for individuals who can’t work because they are too sick. This bill would ensure that terminally ill patients can spend their final months without the added worry of knowing if or when they’ll receive benefits,” Brown said, in a statement.
Additionally, the bill will require yearly reports to the commissioner and the inspector general of the Social Security Administration (SSA) outlining the number of people receiving expedited benefits. During a recipient’s first month of expedited payments, he or she would receive 50 percent of his or her benefits. After that, they would receive 75 percent in their second month and 100 percent after.
“The last thing Americans facing end-of-life decisions should be concerned about is navigating Washington red tape,” Barrasso said, in a statement. Continue to follow our blog and we will inform you if this bill moves forward.
If You Are Terminally Ill and Cannot Work, Talk to Our Tulsa Disability Attorneys
If you are terminally ill, you should be aware that the SSA has a Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program, which allows for the expedited process of disability benefit decisions. This program is currently functioning and the bill noted above would supplement it.
Through the CAL program, applications take only a few days to process, rather than the months-long process that many people have to endure. Talk to our Tulsa SSDI attorneys, who can help you determine whether you are eligible for benefits and/or the expedited process.
For more information about the SSDI process, you can visit our FAQ page.