Oct 9, 2008

Barack Obama On Social Security Disability

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:
  • 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.
He would also:
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.


Anonymous said...

I worked at SSA for over 30 years and I heard over and over again from SSI applicants that they wouldn't even care if they got cash benefits what they needed was the Medicaid that comes with it. In theory these people should be able to apply for Medicaid through their state/local agencies but in reality those agencies won't entertain an application unless the person has already been denied for SSI. This is said to be because they want the person to get all benefits to which they are entitled but more often it has to do with paying for the disability decision. If the person files for SSI then the federal government has already paid for most of the cost of gathering medical information. Since Medicaid is federally funded, at least in part, wouldn't it save the federal government money to pay for the disability decision so that those who only want insurance can file for just Medicaid? I think a lot of money would be saved in processing claims at SSA if national health insurance were a reality. Lack of insurance seems to be the number one thing driving people to file for disability benefits as many can work if they receive the treatment they need. Instead of programs to help people keep Medicare/Medicaid once they have been found to be disabled, help them get insurance so that they can either continue working or return to work without having to be labeled as disabled.

Anonymous said...

"Barack Obama's website says that if elected he intends to create a National Commission on People with Disabilities, Employment and Social Security"

Create a commission, like Bush's commission on Social Security. LOL

Hasn't this stuff been studied to death?

Plus after all the bailouts where is the money coming from to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Obama's agenda is the same load of cr*p that we have been dealt for years. He will do nothing. It does not matter. SSA is doomed.