Barack Obama's website says that if elected he intends to create a National Commission on People with Disabilities, Employment and Social Security with the intention of:
He would also:
- Examining and proposing solutions to work disincentives in the SSDI, SSI, Medicare, and Medicaid programs.
- Revisiting the Ticket to Work Act to assess how it can better provide SSDI and SSI beneficiaries with the supports they need to transition into work.
- Considering opportunities to improve the results produced through the relationships between the SSDI and SSI programs and the workforce investment and vocational rehabilitation systems.
- Examining the sufficiency of SSDI and SSI benefit levels in light of available work opportunities for working-age people with disabilities.
- Determining the sufficiency of the “substantial gainful activity” level in the SSDI program and whether it should be indexed to average hourly wages or some other measure.
- Studying programs that would help young people join the labor force rather than the SSI rolls.
Streamline the Social Security Approval Process: The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been consistently under-funded, resulting in unconscionable delays in initial claims determinations and hearings for individuals applying for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Supplement Security Income (SSI) programs. The SSA's disability claims backlog has reached a record high of 755,000, up from 311,000 in 2000. The average wait time for an appeals hearing averages 505 days and, in some cases, can exceed three years. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that it is unacceptable to have a system in which individuals lose their homes or are forced to declare bankruptcy because the federal government cannot process their claims quickly enough. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are committed to streamlining the current application and appeals procedures to reduce the confusion that surrounds these important programs. As president, Obama will also ensure that the SSA has the funding it needs to hire judges and staff and to invest in technology to expedite final decisions. Obama supported the $150 million increase in the SSA's budget that was vetoed by President Bush this year. As president, he will continue to work to ensure that the SSA has the resources it needs for hiring and to more effectively process its caseloads.
I will post on John McCain's positions on Social Security disability issues if anyone can find them for me. I have been unable to find them.