Mar 18, 2017

Republican Senators Want Time Limited Disability Benefits

     From Sunshine State News:
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., joined with two Senate conservatives on Wednesday to back a proposal reforming Social Security disability benefits. 
Noting that disability benefits are consuming more Social Security funds, Rubio and U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, are co-sponsoring U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton’s, R-Ark., “Return to Work Act" which places new applicants who qualify for Social Security disability benefits in four groups based on whether medical improvement is expected, likely, possible or not expected. 
Beneficiaries in the first three groups would be given a timeline to receive disability benefits while those who are not expected to recover would not. If beneficiaries in the first three groups have not recovered at the end of their timelines--two years for those deemed expected to recover, five years for those deemed likely to recover, longer for those whose recovery is possible--they will be able to reapply for disability benefits.
     The number of people drawing Social Security disability benefits is declining. That's a fact. There's no crisis for this bill to address.
     This bill is based upon the mistaken premise that many Social Security disability recipients get better over time and should be cast off benefits. However, beneficiaries are already subject to continuing disability reviews and are cut off benefits if they have improved to the point that they can work. What's wrong with this process? Not enough claimants are cut off benefits to satisfy these Senators. I think this should lead a reasonable person to conclude that few claimants actually get better. However, if you base your judgments not upon the facts that exist but upon what you think the facts should be, you might conclude that you just have to be much sterner about cutting people off. Don't worry about whether they've improved. Just make them prove over and over and over again that they're disabled. We'll get them off benefits!
     Forcing claimants to prove over and over that they are disabled would be cruel. How many people think that schizophrenics get better over time? Not many who are actually familiar with schizophrenia. However, if you subject schizophrenics to this plan, many would lose their benefits, not because they've improved but because they're too impaired to effectively pursue new claims. Would that result please these Senators?
     By the way, I was around when the Reagan Administration did wholesale continuing disability reviews without a medical improvement standard and without interim benefits, which is the functional equivalent of what these Senators propose. It was by far the most unpopular policy of the Reagan Administration. It's how we came to have a medical improvement standard we have today. These Senators weren't around for that. If they had been, they wouldn't be proposing this.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

I no fan of Rep plans generally, but this is a good idea and one ALJs have been asking for. Schizophrenics would be in the not expected to recover plan. But ortho problems from car accidents, surgical recovery, knee sprains, back problems, depressive disorder--those are conditions which are not expected to be lifetime disabling in any other context.

Anonymous said...

Clearly this is the direction the country is now moving in. Cutting spending on all the social and safety programs for the poor and the working class while delivering tax breaks for the wealthy. At least this bill has a carve out for those with a MINE rating. I wonder what percent of those disabled have that? Hopefully this will never see the light of day. The SSA is already backlogged on hearings as well as CDR's. How could they possibly add this to the mix and keep up?

Anonymous said...

And meanwhile, in District 12.....Let the Hunger Games begin.

Anonymous said...

Does passage seem like a forgone conclusion? At least it may change the opinions of the many disability claimant where I come from who for God knows what reason think the Republicans care about them...

Anonymous said...

help me understand this, folks. how does this constant re-churning of old settled claims, put together with the new claims that will continue to come into ODAR--especially if another recession occurs down the road, not cause a backlog of epic proportions?
how will ODAR be able to handle all of this?

feel free to educate me if need be, but I'm not seeing it.

Anonymous said...

They don't care. They want all of it to eventually collapse. This is culling out of the surplus herd. If you aren't a well to do good republican citizen you do not matter in their Ayn Rand society.

Anonymous said...

don't blame little Marco. He signed the Koch brothers privatization pledge. He is just doing what his bosses told him.

Anonymous said...

All social security claimants are potential deadbeats and cheaters who will attempt to hide any improvement. They must be strictly and continuously vetted. Gotta go. I'm late for my flight for my golf game at Mar Liago.

Anonymous said...

So their plan is to kick people off after a certain time, even if there is zero proof that their conditioned has improved, or not worsened, and then make them spend maybe years fighting again for their benefits. In the meantime, if they haven't really gotten better, or have actually gotten worse, what are these people supposed to do for rent, as they apply and maybe have to appeal their cases. CDR already exist. If they have improved, they are cut off. What logic exist in cutting people off without any evidence that they have improved or not gotten worse. It would be like a hospital discharging all patients after 3 days without regard for their condition at the time of discharge.

Anonymous said...

@3:31 I think its called Swamp O Lago.

Anonymous said...

is the standard to get approved disability at the initial claim level the same as having your CDR allowed a continuance of benefits? Just curious

Anonymous said...

Short version: they basically just want to pay listing level impairments

Anonymous said...

Charles, your arguments are valid and make perfect sense in a rational world. However, don't forget we are now in the post-truth society. If little Marco and his colleagues believe this to be true based on their conservative religion then that is enough. Maybe the high prophets Rush, Hannity and O'Reilly can pontificate on this and help the cause. Maybe a deal can be cut with NPR and PBS to pick it up to save themselves from extinction. We are seeing what happens when the politicians are bought and payed for lock stock and barrel by a few billionaires. The road to Brazil and South American style democracy continues. Get really rich quick if you want to survive.

Anonymous said...

Long Live the King. Let the middle blue-collar, no education, no training, no future America eat cake. Like the famous King George said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.. Shame on you again"

Anonymous said...

Can the "Eat all you can" buffet has its limits?

Anonymous said...

What about these. Kids who acquire autism or these l
Kids paralyzed from gardisil?

Anonymous said...

What about the low birth weight kid who starts getting a check, improves in less than a year, but stays on for years until the CDR when oops, now he has ADHD or worse - constipation! No treatment for 4 years and the 2ppd mom gets the CDR notice and starts taking the kid for tests, just in time for the hearing (true case)? Now we have a continually increasing overpayment that will never be repaid.

This is why Voc Rehab assessments should be REQUIRED for those adults who are expected to improve. The reason disability recipients don't go back to work is they either really can't, really do and get cash under the table, or would rather get the welfare / SSI and all of the other freebies that go along with it (Obamaphone, free housing and utilities, food stamps, etc) so they have no incentive to work.

Anonymous said...

859

I am to left of Bernie Sanders, but you make some excellent points.

Dina Padilla said...

The proposed timing of benefits is already in place and administered by ALJ's. People with back injuries rarely, if at all make any full recovery just for the reasons there are no cures for back injuries AND rarely do these recipients get the proper care from the onset. There are many injured workers who can testify to this. IF ANY treatments are given, they are usually made to worsen the condition, guaranteeing the injured workers will never be able to go back to work again, making way for those who are brought here, to replace the injured worker for much lesser pay. An insidious system that SSA is well aware of. Making injured workers reapply is another tortuous mechanism, making them suffer over an over again because they were injured on the job and purposely disabled with not the ability to right care or medical malpractice experimentation's, all sanctioned by both parties who started this hellish back in the 80's under the Reagan administration with it 1986 Amnesty law just after the SSA Act of 1984 giving illegals access to SSA benefits that the injured workers paid into. Now Congress furthers it's sadistic and onus criminal acts on those who have NO WAY to fight back for over 30 years. The ongoing retaliation for being injured on the job is an aberration of our society that increases with arcane and draconian laws and all promulgated by Congress and no one (who could) with any CAHONE's to challenge this aberration.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the welfare cadillacs. You are one huge stereotype. Take a little time to stereotype Wall Street and corporate America. We've spent about 12 trillion on Wall Street bailouts with no punishment and who knows what on these wars while the impoverished homeless population continues to grow in our cities. I would not trade with any of my disabled clients period. Stop demonizing poor people. Maybe if this last dog standing social Darwinist form of extreme capitalism keeps up you will be out there with them some day. Pray for your continued good health and good insurance plan.

Anonymous said...

@1:58

AMEN!

Anonymous said...

The administrative costs of doing this fairly, efficiently, and humanely are astronomical.

Anonymous said...

Where can I sign up to be poor, disabled, neglected, live in slum housing, and be dependent on the Medicaid system? Being down and out sounds like fun! PS I hear those Obama phones get great reception.

Anonymous said...

If only those poor and disabled people would just go away!

Anonymous said...

We need a piece of legislation requiring little Marco, Cotton et al to get vocational rehabilitation in order to get real jobs and get of the government teet. I far as I can tell they do nothing meaningful to improve the life of the republic. Also, I'm sure they will all somehow die as multi-millionaires for services rendered to their keepers. Screw them.

Tim said...

Cotton's return to work plan and this one seem to be be based on ignorance of just how difficult it is to qualify for SSDI/SSI, especially as an adult under 50. As for returning to work, I'd gladly return to work if he could find a CURE for all my pains, dizziness, migraines, etc.

If you really want disabled people to work, give them more carrots, less threat of a stick. Under the current rules, only a fool would ATTEMPT a return to work, even if they thought they could. You have to make it easy for them to return to SSDI, if or when their condition worsens. Plus, you have to give them incentives to return to work. Right now, there is way to much risk and not enough reward for even trying to return to work. However, in my case, these policies don't make any difference. Returning to work just isn't an option.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

I truly understand and empathize with your situation. I really hope everything turns out favorably for you. SA-27.

Anonymous said...

Did any of you hear the OMB Director on Face the Nation this morning? He specifically stated that they would be looking at SSDI because it is a scam and is a great way to cut the cost of an entitlement program.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this what CDRs and medical re-exams are for? I think the reason behind this is that beneficiaries continue to get benefits until the CDR or medical re-exam is completed and then, if unfavorable, it can be appealed. The point of the Republican plan may be to terminate benefits at the prescribed time and then not resume those benefits until a new determination has been made. I'm sure they see a savings in there somewhere but on the backs of the disabled. Probably figure a certain percentage won't bother to timely reapply or reapply at all.

Anonymous said...

11:14, your spot on! This will create the ULTIMATE backlog. Everyone will reapply.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for this if the same standard is applied to retirement claims.

Get in this office every three years, Gramps. Let's see you prove you're too old to work.

The bluehairs wanna vote overwhelmingly for a burn-everything-down Republican? Join us watching your house burn.

Anonymous said...

8:25 - get a clue... the backlog is because the mantra already is "if you first don't succeed, reapply and reapply again" and again, and again. My record so far is a 17th application, and a 10th request for hearing. The first had a rep and was still under 50 and the second did not have a rep. Until there is a time requirement between when you can reapply (unless severe intervening force) or penalty on the back end for serial reappliers, there will always be a backlog. Love it when the doctor puts in his or her notes: "patient says he is trying to get his disability"

Anonymous said...

Rubio, Lee and Cotton
It seems the facts they've forgotten
Are enough to fill
The bill they shill
With proposals silly and rotten

Few people on SSD
Are exactly like you and me
Most can't work
So don't be a jerk
Start solving the actual problems

Anonymous said...

For the few who read this blog who can't translate what they are really trying to do, it's an end-around to gut Social Security. Realizing that the agency is already understaffed and budgeted for its work load, you require people to reapply for benefits every so often, which vastly increases the agency work load. You sit back and laugh while the agency implodes. Then you put on a cape and swoop in to the rescue with your severe benefit cut and privatization plan to save Social Security. After the photo op, you check your bank account to make sure the big donations from the tea party, the Koch brothers, and any private companies that may profit from the plan have been deposited. Instruct staffers to ignore calls from outraged constituents and to blame it all on Obama.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good start, if funded with a proper re-training program, continuing medical coverage and a few other tweeks.

Anonymous said...

What a golden opportunity for Reps. Just think, taking the same claimant back every 2 years for another hearing. $6,000.00. What a career move...

Tim said...

Here's a thought. How about letting my lawyer cross examine every doctor, on everything! Allow as many witnesses to testify as you want... and then have a lawyer for SSA... with a jury! With the PROOF at step five left to the government to PROVE... with actual jobs from the AREA (25 miles) from actual employers that are REQUIRED TO HIRE FOR SIX MONTHS, if the jury finds them not disabled. The employers can petition SSA within 60 days once they have proof that the finding of not disabled was a pipedream!

Anonymous said...

@7:20, DDS mantra is DENY, DENY, DENY, and this is for legitimate claims. You cannot convince me otherwise!

Anonymous said...

I think too many people do not have an understanding of the program and what it means to be disabled under SSA standards. Just because you are not disabled under SSA rules doesn't mean you do not have a medical condition. That part seems to confuse a lot of people. They are not denying the fact you have back pain, what they are saying is you can work over SGA. People get denied and we hear about their pain being real, yes, they say it is real, but not enough to stop you from make SGA.

My $0.02, the program should only pay for CAL level claims, those conditions so severe they will end in immediate death in short order. The rest need to retrain and rethink the way they address work and earn some money. These days there are countless ways to get retrained and to become productive. If quadriplegics can work so can you.

Anonymous said...

SOME quads can work in SOME circumstances. Quadriplegia, like most other medical conditions, occurs in various degrees of severity. Cases that appear from objective evidence to be th same, e.g. C6 incomplete, result in widely varying degrees of symptomatology. This is why determinations as to ability to perform SGA is a complex process, and hardly one SSA is in a position to undertake several times for each recipient especially given the backlogs/funding problems SSA has now.

As a quad who already had the advantages of an advanced degree and years of relevant experience, I would feel sorry for any employer who had to depend on me to perform reliably in order to cover overhead. The prospect of borrowing money to get an education, job experience, transportation, etc., is overwhelming. I know some technical quads do it and I admire them, but they have some factors going for them which most of us don't have. The same goes for other impairments often to a lesser extent.

Anonymous said...



A foolish waste of money and time. CDR, if staffed adequately, would take care of this. Requiring disabled to reapply would inevitably result in some giving up and succumbing to their disability without assistance. However, most will prevail, but the idea would require increased funding and increased staffing and increased numbers of adjudicators at all levels with all types of biases. Cotton never understood the disability program; he just kept insinuating widespread fraud. Rubio, Lee know even less. Very few congressional representatives have staff who actually have a comprehensive grasp of the SSDI program. So it's a fool's errand fueled by the mean natured shills who blather the old waste fraud and abuse lie that plays well with the imbeciles who elected this present and the majority in the house and senate.

Tim said...

10:57 AM Are you Senator Rand Paul? Even Senator Cotton seems to have more compassion than you! By the way, disability insurance is part of Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance.

Just because you've been determined to be "not disabled" under SSA rules doesn't mean you're capable of doing the alleged "job" the VE claims you can based upon the hypothetical of the ALJ. Hypothetically, if I had a long enough, strong enough lever and fulcrum, then I could lift the moon! Practically, that ain't gonna happen! As I said earlier, returning to work isn't an option.

7:20 AM Were these two eventually approved? If I am denied again, my only choice is to appeal/reapply. Does SSA consider that their previous decision was flawed, or do they take the approach, "Doesn't this person understand they're not disabled?" If you work for SSA, that's what I'd guess. Naturally, the claimants are saying, "Doesn't SSA understand that I really can't work?"

Anonymous said...

Tim

Are you Bernie Sanders? Even if you know nothing else look to how the program started before it ballooned into the disaster it is today. When you already have your mind made up that you are not returning to work, they yes it is never going to happen. If you can sit here and whine, you could be transcribing medical records, doing billing and coding, running an ebay store. Lack of desire is not a disability but attitude is. I see many people of dire conditions work. 100 years ago you would have had the choice, find something to support yourself or go to an institution. How would you do now?

Tim said...

2:36 You obviously have no concept of what it's like to be disabled. As for having my mind made up, it took me 30 years of struggling against my body to get to where I can no longer work. I didn't "decide" not to work any more, one day. But, after a lengthy process, realized that my ability to work had been eroded. Did you know that Johnny Unitas "played" with the Chargers, Joe Naimoth was with the Rams and O.J.Simpson "ran" with the 49ers? Their former teams all knew before they did that their careers were over. They thought they could still perform, because in their minds they thought they still could. Reality can be difficult to accept. You try this new treatment, that new medication... eventually, even they had no choice but to accept their fate.

Tim said...

No, I am NOT Bernie Sanders! BALLOONED? You mean because of demographics? Baby Boom and more women working lead to more people in disability, along with the raising of the retirement age. Actual people in disability has declined in last three years and continues to trend downward. All of this was predicted.

Anonymous said...

Tim

You are wrong, I do have disabilities, mostly mobility, but I also only have one eye, but it is corrected to 20/40 with glasses. I use public transportation because I cannot drive with my condition. I have to use assistive technology along with some common sense. With the commute, my average 8 hour work day averages about 9 hours and 45 minutes. I am over 50 years old and went from being on a survey crew figuring property lines and laying out roads, sewers and grading in new construction to an office job. So get off your high horse telling me what I am and what I do. With or without legs I support myself.

I cant do what I did before, but I can and do work now.

Anonymous said...

And BTW Tim, no I don't make the same money I did before, not by a long shot, actually just a little over half what I made before. I miss working with my hands, being outside, recovering from my work with a shower and a good meal. Now I am frustrated by fax machines, fighting with copiers and interoffice politics. I don't live in the neighborhood I used to live in, I don't have my Silverado on 38s anymore, I don't grill the same cuts of meat, drink the same booze or even have the same damn cable package I had before. but it is a damn sight better than being on disability. I would drag myself through the sewer if I had to, and one day I may not be able to keep this up but you can bet you type happy ass that I will working up to that day. Thanks a lot for pissing me the eff off! People like you are the ones they are gunning for.

Tim said...

Just received my denial from ALJ! Claimed there were 3 jobs I could do. Three jobs I've never heard of. I didn't know a shift manager (glorified clerk) at a convenience store 14 years ago was a "skilled" job. I don't know what I'm going to do. Suicides haven't changed anything...

Tim said...

ALJ dismissed my hand, shoulder issues and ignored all the nonexertional limitations, including headaches (frequent) and migrains (at least 3-5) days a month. He basically regurgitated the original DDS RFC. Why bother with the charade? As for the three jobs, if I could do any of them I would never have applied!

Anonymous said...

Actually, the medical improvement standard was in place before Reagan thanks to Rivas v. Weinberger. Reagan was attacked due to his non-acquiescence to court rulings. That was an awful time for disability claimants.

Anonymous said...

I had a VE testify that my claimant could be a burr grinder but didn't know what they did.

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Anonymous said...

Can't wait for this. My practice will explode! I can rep the same client's over and over and collect more fees! Plus, all the added cases will create such a backlog that every case will be a max fee! Yea!

I think I'll go buy that lake house I was thinking about....

Anonymous said...

5:02

Oh, my! You can't grill the same cuts of meat? Horrors! Is this like a competition or something? I can't grill ANY cuts of beef and I can't work. I am also in my 50's but for whatever silly reason, no one wants to hire a former public interest attorney who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. I would LOVE to work in an office, a bakery, selling shoes, or even waiting tables (the latter would be really funny). Seriously, until you have walked in another's shoes, it's best not to criticize others. Lucky me, I think I "won".

Anonymous said...

The requirements for getting on disability are more stringent than for those that are on that are undergoing CDRs. I have seen cases where someone on SSI has worked enough to be covered under SSA. SSA disability claim was denied but the SSI CDR was continued. Asked DDS how this could be--different requirements. First one has to show that a person is disabled while at a CDR he or she just has to show not enough improvement. Doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

thank you 502 you prove my point, Early Onset Alzhiemers is a CAL condition.