The Trump Administration and Social Security Disability

The Trump Administration and Social Security Disability

President Trump and his administration are drafting a proposal to go to the United States Congress that would strip away disability benefits from several thousand American Citizens. Their latest proposal would cut Social Security disability benefits by $2.6 billion over a 10 year period. It would also require millions of beneficiaries to re-prove their disability and navigate the complex webpage every two years. This means several thousand people could lose benefits, even though their condition has not changed. During President Ronald Reagan’s administration in the 1980’s, he terminated Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for thousands of disabled people who were accused of taking advantage of the system in place, instead of returning to the workforce. With President Donald Trump in office, many experts believe he is heading in a similar direction when it comes to Social Security Disability.

Under the new proposed legislation, the government would look more closely at whether certain disability insurance recipients still qualify for the SSDI program, though they had been previously approved. While recipients already have to demonstrate their continuing disability every few years, the proposal would ramp up the examinations, potentially removing still-eligible beneficiaries from the program.

Currently, there are three categories that the Social Security Administration uses to determine an applicant’s eligibility for receiving benefits: “medical improvement not expected,” “medical improvement expected,” and “medical improvement possible.” The fourth category currently being proposed is “medical improvement likely.” This new fourth category would affect 4.4 million recipients, many of who are children and Step 5 beneficiaries, an internal Social Security classification for people ages 50 to 65 with poor health and no income. Advocates for recipients say that the “medical improvement likely” category is illogical. In general, medical conditions deteriorate as people age, especially those who have limited resources. Implementing a necessary review for Step 5 recipients every two years will make it even more difficult for them to comply with the review process, putting their benefit eligibility in jeopardy. In response, the Social Security Administration said, “we believe that there may be positive employment effects as a result of these proposed rules, although we cannot currently quantify them”.

In the United States, there are over 8 million people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). To receive SSDI, they need to prove to the government that they suffer from a severe disability that will not be resolved within a year. After they have been awarded benefits due to the condition they are suffering from, many recipients have to prove that they are still unable to work in order to continue receiving benefits. How often the reviews happen depends on the severity of a person’s impairment and age. The Trump proposal would result in 2.6 million more reviews over a decade, at a cost of $1.8 billion. The administration claims this will save $2.6 billion by terminating benefits for an unspecified number of SSDI and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. The Trump administration has insisted that former recipients will be better off if they’re forced to rejoin the workforce. But with the disability proposal, the administration admitted it “cannot currently quantify” how many might find work. Past research conducted by SpringerOpen on incomes of former disability recipients paints a grim picture, with this proposal possibly bringing low earnings and high poverty rates.

The Trump Administration’s proposal will be difficult to put into effect, considering that Congress members and experts disagree with him. If he decides to implement any new policies the courts will most likely rule against him, just as they did to President Reagan. Though proposals meant to reduce SSDI outlays are on the table, it does not mean they’re going to be implemented. In fact, the chance of Trump getting either of these SSDI proposals passed into law is currently projected to be virtually zero. Democrats have a majority in the House and would most likely reject any proposal that would reduce SSDI payouts. And, even if one or both of these proposals reached the Senate, it’s unclear if there would be enough bipartisan support to get a bill to Trump’s desk for his signature. However, it is possible that Social Security will try to implement his policies, which is why having a Social Security lawyer for your case is incredibly important. They are knowledgeable of current and proposed policies, making them extremely capable of answering your questions and counteracting any issues.