Manring & Farrell

Changes may jeopardize Social Security disability benefits

Disability recipients in Ohio may be required to prove their status to case reviewers more often if new rules are approved. The change proposed by the Trump Administration would affect an estimated 16 million Americans who receive payments under two programs handled by the Social Security Administration. Some groups are opposing the new rules by claiming the review process is already damaged. Administration officials claim the new rules will net the program about $1.2 billion per year.

Disability cases currently approved in two programs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance, must be reviewed based on the categorization of the individual's medical condition. For instance, reviews may only occur between five and seven years for cases classed as "medical improvement not expected." More frequent reviews occur for cases where improvement is likely, such as preterm infants. The new rules would add a category and revise the time to review for some of the categories.

One of the leading objections from critics of the new rules concerns an ongoing investigation by the GAO into review practices of disability benefits cases. Doctors are hired by the agency to review cases at a flat rate per case. Some have claimed that these reviews are happening far too quickly for them to be thorough or accurate. Critics also targeted the increased paperwork requirements on disabled recipients.

Applying for Social Security benefits can be a long process. The paperwork requirements, doctor reviews, medical appointments and appeals can go on for years before a case is approved and payments made. For those who are living with a disability, however, there may be no other option. Whether at the start of application or appeal of a review, Ohio residents may find help meeting program requirements from an attorney experienced in pursuing Social Security disability claims.

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