- Reducing SSDI retroactive payments to six months rather than 12 months before the protected filing date. This will take an estimated $9.9 billion over the next ten years from disabled workers.
- Reinstating the reconsideration step in the disability process in ten “prototype” states. This is expected to result in more claimants being denied, dying, or becoming discouraged with the wait time and quitting the appeal process.
- Creating an “expert panel” to recommend program changes to SSI and SSDI, with the goal of a 5% reduction in benefits by 2027. The budget proposal suggests requiring claimants to receive specific medical treatments, prove they looked for work, or limiting the amount of time they can receive disability benefits. These are possible changes.
- Reducing SSDI benefits when an individual attempts to work, is laid off, and then receives unemployment benefits. This kind of change keeps those with disabilities from trying to work.
- Changing workers’ compensation laws to save the DI trust funds money at the expense of state workers’ compensation programs.
- Establishing a one-year probationary period for new ALJs, which could interfere with their decisional independence.
- Limiting SSI payments for individuals living with other SSI recipients. This would interfere with families’ choices about living arrangements, add complexity to the SSI program (increasing overpayments), and increase poverty.
- Excluding Social Security overpayments from discharge in bankruptcy proceedings, and increasing the minimum withholding to repay overpayments from $10 a month to 10% of benefits - which makes significant impact upon a disabled person's ability to pay their monthly living expenses.
Trump's 2018 Budget has been released and it includes significant cuts to Social Security Disability benefits. According to the National Organization for Social Security Claimant's Representatives, the cuts amount to $72 billion over the next ten years. The proposed cuts would mean that working people who have become disabled would have $72 billion less to use for basic needs like food and shelter, even though they paid for those benefits when they worked and paid taxes. The cuts include:
With #Trumpcare passing the House, millions of people are in jeopardy of losing their medical care for serious medical conditions. The Republican plan to eliminate the Affordable Care Act proposes to eliminate the provision that protects those with pre-existing conditions. #Trumpcare allows insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for health insurance - this is banned under the ACA or Obamacare. This would allow insurers to hike up premiums to unaffordable amounts. AARP recently reported that premiums for those with pre-existing conditions or those who are "high-risk" could reach as high as $25,700 per year. Many articles have posted a list of the pre-existing conditions that will not be covered. Here is a list of some of them:
AIDS/HIV, lupus, alcohol abuse/drug abuse with recent treatment, severe mental disorders such as bipolar disorder or an eating disorder, Alzheimer's/dementia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and other inflammatory joint disease, muscular dystrophy, cancer, severe obesity, cerebral palsy, organ transplant, congestive heart failure, paraplegia, coronary artery/heart disease, bypass surgery, paralysis, Crohn's disease/ulcerative colitis, Parkinson's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema, pending surgery or hospitalization, diabetes mellitus, pneumocystis pneumonia, epilepsy, pregnancy or expectant parent, hemophilia, sleep apnea, hepatitis C, stroke, kidney disease, renal failure, transsexualism.
What needs to be made clear is that although Republicans claim these conditions will still be covered, #Trumpcare essentially places those with pre-existing conditions in a position where they will be unable to afford coverage. While technically that isn't the same thing as not covering pre-existing conditions - pricing people with serious illness out of the insurance market gives them no coverage. This change affects millions of people in the United States. #Trumpcare now heads to the Senate and it remains to be seen what the Senate will do with the bill. As of today, thirteen Republican senators are writing a new version of the bill. That group doesn’t include a single woman, or any moderates. Once again, the most conservative, white, male Republican members of Congress will be deciding who deserves medical care and who does not. Unfortunately, it is exactly these people who the insurance companies have in their pockets.
DIANNA CANNON, J.D.