Earlier this month, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette published an article about a proposed Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) bill making its way through Congress. Per the report in the Gazette, if this bill becomes law, it could end SSDI benefits as we know them, including limiting access for millions of people.
How Could This Proposed Bill Limit SSDI Benefits?
The proposed bill, which is known as the Social Security Disability Return to Work Act, would limit the number of SSDI beneficiaries who can receive benefits for life or even long term. Under the proposed law, those receiving SSDI benefits would be divided into three categories:
- Medical improvement expected – Those who fall under this category would have their benefits automatically cut off after two years. After their benefits are terminated, beneficiaries can reapply for SSDI, but they will be treated like they are a new applicant, including being required to provide medical proof of disability all over again.
- Medical improvement likely – After five years, beneficiaries in this category would stop receiving SSDI payments. Similar to those in the “improvement expected” category, these beneficiaries can reapply for SSDI once their benefits have been cut off.
- Medical improvement possible and medical improvement not expected – Those in these categories have no automatic cutoff date for their SSDI benefits.
The effectiveness of the Return to Work Act would greatly depend on the standards used to determine if a person with disabilities can return to work. In addition, the quality of the vocational rehabilitation programs implemented to aid SSDI beneficiaries’ efforts to rejoin the workforce would be crucial to the bill’s success.
How do you feel about this proposed change to SSDI law? Voice your concerns regarding this issue on our Tulsa disability law firm’s Twitter and Facebook pages as well as in the comments section below. To learn more about Social Security Disability benefits, including whether you are eligible for SSI and SSDI, watch the video below and continue to follow our blog.