End Social Security's Disability Nightmare
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Social Security’s disability determination program's been broken for decades. Everyone knows somebody who’s endured this tragedy. I wrote a bipartisan bill to fix the problem called the Eastman Disability Reform Act—the most substantial disability reform in the history of Social Security. This Act restores the public's trust in the agency and Congress, while this petition is asking the 16 members of both the Social Security subcommittees in the House and Senate to take action.
Between 800,000 and 1.2 million people file disability appeals yearly—over half of them later win, taking up to 3 years. During this time, many of these honest Americans declare bankruptcy and become homeless. Tragically, 1 in 6 men (and 1 in 7 women) die within 5 years of receiving disability benefits.
The rejection of all disability claims is mandated by the agency at a level of 85% (or more) of all applications. This objective's cryptically disguised as the National Agree Rate. The agency has been operating without accountability or impunity for two decades, while 10,000 died awaiting benefits this year!
The SSD trust fund will be exhausted in 2023, according to a 2017 Congressional Budget Office report. "Baby Boomers" born between 1946 and 1964 have been postponing retirement, with many becoming disabled; causing extra strain to the SSD determination process. The agency won't add staff because they project the backlog ending in 2025...two years after the disability trust fund's exhausted!
A former college roommate (who was born legally blind) was denied in 1994 when he applied at 18. He had to appeal and has the same "horror story" echoed by so many today. I have 8 qualifying conditions and am currently in my second year of appeal. This has occurred with the agencies knowledge for two decades, and, without congressional intervention.
We must improve the access and availability of medical records used for determinations by ensuring they're in a usable file format all applicants can securely access. Sending .TIFF picture format files to applicants with encryption software which must be installed on a Windows computer with an optical drive makes it impossible for many to see the records in their agency file.
Agency contracted physicians examining claimants will finally see relief from extreme patient caseloads. This will allow for vastly better patient evaluations and less unecessary appeals.
Please help a million honest people each year who cannot work and have paid into disability their entire career. We must end the "disability impossibility" so future generations don't assume it's an acceptable part of being disabled in America.
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