New Trump Disability Rule Could End Payments For Hundreds-Of-Thousands

Darren.Woon

Experts are calling this action another attack on America’s imperiled social safety net, putting savings over people.

President Donald Trump’s administration proposed changes to Social Security that could end disability payments to hundreds of thousands of Americans, disproportionately targeting children and older adults, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The new rule would change disability reviews, the methods by which the Social Security Administration determines whether a person qualifies for benefits, and has been likened to the administration’s efforts to cut food stamps without offering sufficient information to explain curtailing benefits. 

“I have serious concerns about this proposed rule,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), adding that it “appears to be yet another attempt by the Trump administration to make it more difficult for people with disabilities to receive benefits.”

There are currently three categories for how often recipients are subject to disability reviews.

Trump’s proposed change would add a fourth category, labeled “Medical Improvement Likely” and would included an estimated 4.4 million beneficiaries, many of them children and Step 5 recipients. The fourth category would mandate disability reviews every two years. 

Step 5 recipients are typically 50 to 65 years of age, in poor health, and are without much education or many job skills. They suffer from a combination of disabilities that make working difficult or impossible, and advocates for recipients say the inclusion of Step 5 people in the “Medical Improvement Likely” category appears to make little sense. 

“There’s an underhandedness to this,” said Jonathan Stein, a former Community Legal Services attorney. “It’s ideological, not based on medicine or science.”

Kate Lang, senior attorney at Justice in Aging, a Washington-based nonprofit that focuses on health benefits for low-income older adults said, “I don’t think they care about the optics very much. They’re just focused on saving money.”

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