A bill in the House of Representatives seeks to expedite Social Security Disability Insurance claims for people with a terminal illness.
“Our disability safety net is failing the very people it was put in place to help,” U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), who introduced the bill with Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), told the Alton Telegraph. “My office has had several cases where an individual has passed away while waiting for Social Security disability benefits…
“They cannot afford to wait on bureaucratic red tape. Our bill simply speeds up the process for qualifying individuals so they can begin receiving benefits within the first month.”
Federal law imposes a five-month waiting period before SSDI beneficiaries can begin receiving benefits, starting from when the agency determines is the date of the onset of the disability.
The Social Security Disability Fairness Act of 2016, introduced May 26, would eliminate this requirement for people diagnosed with a terminal illness, defined as people having six months or less to live, as certified by two independent physicians.
The Social Security Administration would also be required to issue annual reports, tracking data on beneficiaries of the proposed expedited process, including the number of individuals who die within six and 12 months of receiving benefits. The Government Accountability Office would also be required to submit a report within four years of the law’s implementation.
Also in May, bills were introduced in both the House and Senate to eliminate the five-month waiting period for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.