Jul 18, 2015

Social Security Drafting Rules Touching On Gun Control

     From the Los Angeles Times:
Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others. ...
A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease." 
There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.
If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by "representative payees." ...
Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.
"Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe," said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. "They are very different determinations." ...
About 2.7 million people are now receiving disability payments from Social Security for mental health problems, a potentially higher risk category for gun ownership. An addition 1.5 million have their finances handled by others for a variety of reasons.
The agency has been drafting its policy outside of public view. Even the National Rifle Assn. was unaware of it. ...
Ari Ne'eman, a member of the National Council on Disability, said the independent federal agency would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.
"The rep payee is an extraordinarily broad brush," he said.
     By the way back in January 2013, I predicted this was coming.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

One problem is that Social Security has never given criteria by which someone should be considered capable or not.

Anonymous said...

This is under "you can't have your cake and eat it too!"

Meaning, you shouldn't get this money every month for severe mental health issues and claim you are competent enough to have guns.

Both SS and the VA need to do this crackdown.

The definition of 100% disabled with the VA is "total gross impairment."

But the minute you tell one of these 100% mentally disabled vets this, they start screaming about their gun rights and claim competence. Which is it?

Now let's touch on the unscratched party: retired law enforcement.

Lots of these jokers are running around with PTSD and "total gross impairment" just like the vets, but nobody is coming after their guns despite their often getting paid for their disabilities also.

Anonymous said...

This will be a hard one for conservatives, who think to be disabled you need to be Steven Hawking, yet want everyone to be able to carry a gun everywhere they go.

Anonymous said...

Bad Idea. There is no direct relationship between capability to handle benefits and the mental capacity to own a firearm. And considering the nature of the gun control issue, considering all the other workloads and issues Social Security must deal with the Obama Administration is doing a gross disservice by drawing the Social Security Administration into this controversy.

Anonymous said...

What they could do is have the examiners/decision makers code those cases in which part of the allowance was based on violent/aggressive /delusional behaviors or expressions.

Anonymous said...

It's really not that hard at all. If you get disability benefits for a mental impairment, you lose your right to legally possess a firearm.

I'm all for protection of the right to own a gun and I'm not against helping people with a disability. But as the poster above mentioned, you can't claim "mental deficiency" but still claim you should be able to own a gun.

Anonymous said...

It's very easy when you don't understand something fully to make bad judgments. What I get from some posters (5:47 and 9:09) is that that they don't understand the nuances of mental impairment. They lump everything into mentally disabled or not mentally disabled and believe that all those in the former category should be treated the same as far as their rights as citizens. That oversimplification causes them to propose solutions that would violate the civil rights of many people with disabilities.

There are multiple categories of mental function which can be impaired in various degrees. Some of those categories may be critical to sustaining full-time employment, but don't impair the judgment necessarily to safely handle things that might cause harm to self or others, whether that be a gun, a stove, or a pocket knife. In the Social Security context, the categories are laid out in the POMS, SSRs and elsewhere.

Civil rights should not be forfeited just because a person has a disability. Assessments of a person's fitness for a particular purpose should be done on an individualized basis. If a person's mental impairment is in an area that would legitimately jeopardize their safety or that of others, then of course restrict rights and access to firearms. If not then it makes no sense to take the right away.

Anonymous said...

Well, we could do it the scientific way by analyzing the number and frequency of gun-related crimes committed by beneficiaries who have a rep payee, but hey, let's just ban millions of people from owning guns because we can use arbitrary criteria. That's the agenda.

Anonymous said...

As long as the assessment is at the cost of the applicant and legally binding, I'm fine with that. There would have to be be a specific standard set across the board.

Anonymous said...

@9:33 AM: Again, 100% VA disability is described quite simply as "total gross impairment." It also pays $3,000 per month. Let's see how many people will choose the $3000 or their gun rights?

Not to mention this level of disability at the VA all but ensures that they get SSDI on top of the $3k.

Additionally, James Holmes, the Colorado shooter didn't get let off for insanity and he's clearly crazy, so I don't have a lot of faith in the way folks like you determine mental fitness.

This is just going around in a FOX News type circle: there's no such thing as being mentally ill and they shouldn't be getting taxpayer's money for it, but we're all for us and not the mentally ill having guns.

Anonymous said...

I can't handle paperwork. I need help with applications. But I am able to handle a firearm.
The disabled and elderly are generally easy targets for criminals. If anybody needs a gun, they do.

Anonymous said...

I personally think we should ban all or most guns, but that doesn'the change the fact that using rep payee is a bad way to go. Some people are their own payee just because no one is willing to serve as their payee. The implementation if capability determinations varies from office to office and employee to employee. It would have to force a revisiting of payee policy and the truth is there is no sure fire wa by to make it anything besides a partly arbitrary decision.

Anonymous said...



You can get 100% VA disability for TDIU which has a definition extremely close to the SSD standard.

Anonymous said...

As a staunch conservative, owning a gun shop, and an Administrative Law Judge, I agree that those with mental impairments disabling them and/or Rep payees should be denied the right to own a gun. Guns don't kill people, nuts kill people.

Cheryl said...

I never thought about it that way. However, that would be true.the boyfriend of my devoutly Republican turned Repugnant sister is a retired Suffolk County cop in New York. They all get guns, even in states such as NY where guns are not easy to get legally!!!

Cheryl said...

Another thing that is true about people on disability, myself included, is that they do not differentiate between suicidal and homicidal. The first of which is a victimless crime, the latter of which actually harms other people! It's that simple. This I say because I had a friend years ago who was an Army veteran and had mental health issues. Owning a gun because he feared for his safety, not to be prejudiced here like he was, but because he lived in a trailer park in the middle of an African American neighborhood that had lots of crime, one day, after his girlfriend broke up with him, he did the right thing he felt he had to do for himself in order to be happy in life. Grabbing his 44 Magnum pistol, he blew his brains out on the couch of his mobile home! He was not homicidal in any way. He was suicidal, a lot of people could not deal with the fact that he did what he thought was best for himself and his own self - absorbed interests. However, I believe he did what he had to do.

Cheryl said...

Another thing that is true about people on disability, myself included, is that they do not differentiate between suicidal and homicidal. The first of which is a victimless crime, the latter of which actually harms other people! It's that simple. This I say because I had a friend years ago who was an Army veteran and had mental health issues. Owning a gun because he feared for his safety, not to be prejudiced here like he was, but because he lived in a trailer park in the middle of an African American neighborhood that had lots of crime, one day, after his girlfriend broke up with him, he did the right thing he felt he had to do for himself in order to be happy in life. Grabbing his 44 Magnum pistol, he blew his brains out on the couch of his mobile home! He was not homicidal in any way. He was suicidal, a lot of people could not deal with the fact that he did what he thought was best for himself and his own self - absorbed interests. However, I believe he did what he had to do.

Anonymous said...

Look most states are already handling this! Everyone have the right to protect themselves unless the courts rule against them. It's a no brainer that people who are a danger to themselves or others need restrictions. However I don't believe this applies to all mental or disabled people as I obviously don't believe all elderly, mentally, or physically disabled people are a threat. Stop HATING. These are people too. If these can meet the same requirement then they shouldn't be discriminated against just because they are different! If they break the law then let them be judged by ours courts. This is crazy!

Anonymous said...

I work with a lot of these so called nutty people... I find it quite easy dealing with these than with evil, cruel, and insensitive people. People who are dangerous criminals or dangerously mentally impaired as listed above are the people who holds the greater risk of killings. Let's hope our critics continue to escape this illness that many can't escape.