We can’t deny Social Security for the seriously ill!

On November 18, 2019, the Social Security Administration published a notice in the Federal Register calling on comments regarding when and how often the SSA conducts continuing disability reviews for Social Security Disability insurance beneficiaries. While the Trump administration claims that this change would help identify beneficiaries who can go back to work at the earliest point possible, the Coalition on Human Needs believes this proposal would strip Social Security Disability benefits from many of those who need them most.

Background: Between 1981-1984, the Reagan administration implemented a policy resulting in more than 315,000 Americans being denied their earned Social Security disability benefits. The denials were so misguided that nearly two-thirds of those terminated were reinstated. People suffering from cancer, strokes, mental illness and many other serious conditions had to struggle while they appealed; some did not have the resources to appeal. Even taking into account successful appeals, over 100,000 lost benefits. More than 21,000 of those denied benefits lost their lives. At the time, thanks to a massive public outcry, the Reagan administration was forced to reverse this attack on Social Security.

Because the reviews are so difficult to complete and people with disabilities often cannot get adequate medical evaluations and evidence, more frequent reviews will mean people with serious medical conditions will be more likely to be terminated.

The rule would require millions of people with serious health conditions to undergo more frequent reviews of their medical conditions, but there is no evidence that conditions will have improved enough to allow them to work with adequate earnings. While the Trump Administration claims they will be able to work, their own proposal cites evidence to the contrary: a study of people denied Social Security Disability benefits found that three years after loss of benefits only about one in five (22 percent) was able to sustain even modest earnings.


The comment period for this proposed rule ended on January 31, 2020. The resources below provide more details on the rule and why it should be opposed:




Social Security