Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have written a letter to Senator Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee urging further "reforms" to Social Security disability. Apparently, the Senators are urging passage of an amendment sponsored by Lankford that would require, in his words:
- Updating the Social Security Administration (SSA) medical and vocational guidelines for eligibility, which hasn’t been updated since 1978
- Making sure that claimants who are assumed to be able to work (i.e., eligible for Unemployment Insurance) don’t get trapped in a benefits system that discourages work
- Streamlining the process to eliminate unnecessary steps for claimants for reconsideration
- Tightening rules and requirements, and reducing fees to keep Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), claimant representatives, medical experts, and SSA accountable.
- Strengthening SSA and Congressional oversight of SSA and ALJs
- Creating a separate budget account for SSA’s program integrity work, to ensure benefit processing is accurate and efficient
- Making available information to Disability Determination Services and ALJs about medical improvement, and,
- Ensuring that claimants whose records are not fully-developed have their cases thoroughly reviewed.