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Casey, Senate Dems Call for End to Trump Administration’s New Scheme to Undermine Disability Benefits

SSA’s Proposal Would Cost Agency More Than $1.8B; Force Americans with Disabilities to Complete 2.6 Million More Onerous Reviews Over Next 10 Years

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging, led a letter with 40 other Democratic Senators urging the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to withdraw its proposed rule that would change when and how often the agency conducts continuing disability reviews (CDR). The proposal would require millions of Americans who rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to re-prove their eligibility for benefits more frequently without reason, placing significant additional burden on individuals and families that are already stretched thin.

In their letter to Commissioner Andrew Saul, the Senators noted that SSA fails to clearly establish a need for these changes, fails to justify the specific procedural changes proposed, fails to fully evaluate the effects these changes will have on beneficiaries and fails to provide an adequate cost-benefit analysis. SSA does not even provide an estimate of the number of people who will lose benefits as a result of this rule.

SSA estimates the proposed rule change would increase the number of CDRs conducted over the next 10 years by 2.6 million. According to SSA, the changes would reduce SSDI and SSI benefits by $2.6 billion over that same period. SSA also estimates the changes would increase administrative costs by $1.8 billion over 10 years and that beneficiaries would be saddled with new compliance costs of at least $16.4 million.

“At a time when leadership from SSA is sorely needed to further reduce unacceptably long disability application wait times and eliminate the disability hearing backlog, it is alarming that the agency appears more concerned with devoting limited resources toward making it harder for people with disabilities to receive essential benefits,” the Senators wrote.

“This proposed rule appears to simply be another transparent attempt from the Trump Administration to make it more difficult for Americans to access essential supports and benefits. We urge SSA to withdraw the proposed rule immediately,” concluded the Senators.

Read the letter here.