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Monday, March 23, 2020

Proposed Changes to SSDI Present a Problem

The Social Security Administration, at the request of President Trump, has proposed some major changes to two of its core programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If these changes are pushed through, many New Yorkers who previously qualified for benefits could be bumped from the SSDI and SSI rolls.

What changes are being considered?

The Trump administration hopes to trim $2.6 billion from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) budget between 2020 and 2029 by increasing the number of “continuing disability reviews” (CDRs) it performs.

Some recipients of SSDI and SSI would have to more regularly prove that their medical conditions haven’t improved in order to maintain their benefits. Right now, these CDRs are conducted based on an individual’s medical classification. Individuals are put into one of three categories: Medical Improvement Expected, with reviews every six to 18 months; Medical Improvement Possible, with reviews every three years; and Medical Improvement Not Expected, with reviews every five to seven years. The SSA is proposing to add another category, Medical Improvement Likely, which would allow it to conduct reviews every two years.

In theory, more frequent reviews will mean people who no longer qualify for benefits because their medical condition is improved will be removed from the program — freeing up money to be spent on people who do qualify for benefits, or on other government programs.

The reality is only a small percentage of the people who lose benefits will have medical improvement. The majority will be kicked out of the program because the CDR process is overly burdensome.

What do you mean by “burdensome?”

At the Seelig Law Group we know the CDR process sometimes causes New Yorkers who are 100% eligible for benefits to lose them because we are often contacted by people who have lost their benefits after a CDR.

The required paperwork can be overwhelming for someone who is struggling with medical issues. To add insult to injury, just because a recipient fills their paperwork out correctly doesn’t mean their benefits are secure. If a medical provider fails to respond in a timely manner, or doesn’t fill out their portion of the required paperwork in enough detail, the SSA can terminate benefits.

Requiring people with serious disabilities to go through the burdensome CDR process more frequently is cruel.

Not Afraid To Speak Up For Our Clients

The Seelig Law Group is not the only one sounding the alarm about these proposed changes. Many people provided feedback to the SSA on the proposed changes. Many others continue to speak out about the proposed rules to raise awareness, just like we are.

Whether these proposed changes to the SSDI and SSI programs go through or not, our firm will continue to assist clients who are going through the CDR process. We help individuals fill out the mountain of paperwork required, and push healthcare providers to quickly and thoroughly fill out the documents they are asked to complete as part of the process. We will amplify our clients’ voices and make sure they are heard.

If you or a loved one is going through the CDR process, and you could use a helping hand, we are ready to assist you. Please contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.


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