Social Security Disability Reform Petition - Please Reform The Social Security Disability Insurance Program

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Money is taken out of American’s pay checks every week for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) through FICA and SECA deductions. Millions of Americans become disabled unexpectedly and end up having to file a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - the most mismanaged and underfunded program in the country.

Anyone, at any time, could suddenly find themselves in a situation where they need to access these insurance benefits – such as an accident, work related injury, catastrophic illness, a victim of a crime, military personnel, veterans, natural disasters, and now we have the threat of terrorist attacks which are unfortunate realities of life.  Disease and tragedy does not discriminate based upon age, race, sex or any other factor.  

What they will find is that the current SSDI program can end up killing you instead of helping you, and then the SSA doesn’t have to pay you.  SSDI claims applicants can face homelessness, bankruptcy and even death trying to get their hard earned benefits when they need them most.

We are concerned about what transpires from the first point of contact with the SSA, the initial filing for SSDI benefits, claim processing procedures, accuracy, efficiency, and the final decision/outcome of each SSDI claim.

Billions of dollars are being spent in foreign lands and on pork barrel programs, and we want the government to focus on and fix this growing problem now instead!

Here are just a few of the major issues we would like to see addressed:

Removal of the current five month waiting period for initial payment of SSDI benefits, from disability date of eligibility.  The withholding of five months of benefits greatly adds to the financial burden of a claimant, and compromises their financial status to a point, that most can never recover from due to their inability to work. 

Immediate eligibility for Medicare upon disability approval with NO waiting period instead of the current 2 years.  The current two year waiting period causes even further harm to an applicant’s already compromised health and even greater financial burden on a population who can least afford it, since they cannot work. This also forces many to have to file for Medicaid/Social Service programs who otherwise may not have needed these services if Medicare was provided immediately upon approval of disability benefits.  Immediate removal of Medicare Part D coverage gap “doughnut hole” for all SSDI Medicare recipients.

Strict enforcement of, and fines need to be instituted for, violations of Federal Regulation CFR20 404.1642 Processing Time Standards.

Strict monitoring and enforcement of Federal Regulation CFR20 404.1643 Performance Accuracy Standard by the (GAO) Government Accounting Office, and not the SSA, to achieve a minimum 99% accuracy rate for ALL SSDI cases at ALL times.

All phases of disability claims processing should be moved to and handled out of the Social Security individual field offices, including the DDS phase which is the medical determination phase currently handled by the states, and all hearing phases of the disability process.  All people who process Social Security disability claims should be employees of the Federal Government to ensure accuracy and uniform processing of disability claims under Federal regulations and Social Security policies which is currently not the case. 

All licensed physicians should be required to be trained in the regulations and requirements needed to declare their patients to be eligible for SSDI benefits, and be required to fill out Social Security Disability forms for their patients to validate their disability claims with the SSA or face fines, or loss of their license to practice medicine for refusal to do so.

Creation of an Interim (Transitional) SSDI disability program for those who are chronically ill, but still may be able to work a few hours a week/month.  (Example - Say a claimant would be eligible for $1000 disability benefit if approved for full SSDI benefits.  They would apply for interim disability to start and for every month they could not work they would get a full check.  For those months that they could work they would be paid the difference or nothing based on the percentage of the $1000 benefit they would earn by working that month.)  They would also be eligible for full Medicare benefits from the onset.  When their illnesses progressed to a point that working is no longer an option, full SSDI benefits would automatically begin.   

Congress needs to immediately set up a task force made up of claimants who have actually gone through the SSDI system, that has major input and influence on the decision making process before any final decisions/changes/laws are instituted by the SSA Commissioner or members of Congress.  This is absolutely necessary, since nobody knows better about the flaws in the system and possible solutions to those problems, then those who are forced to go through it and deal with the consequences when it does not function properly. 

More Federal funding is necessary to create a universal network between Social Security, and all outlets that handle SSD/SSI cases so that claimant’s info is easily available to caseworkers handling claims no matter what level/stage they are at in thesystem. 

All money that is taken out of American’s paychecks for Social Security should not be allowed to be used for anything else other than to administer the program and pay out benefits to the American people.  SSA must not have to be forced to beg for funding and compete each year with more high profile/popular programs for its survival, when they can use trust funds that should be easily available to them to accomplish their tasks.  The current process has severely crippled the effectiveness of this vital program and it needs to be changed immediately.

We ask that you please introduce, legislate, pass and sign into law the Fullerton-Edwards Social Security Disability Reform Act which can be found in its entirety at:

Fullerton-Edwards Social Security Disability Reform Act
https://sites.google.com/site/ssdcoalition/fullerton-edwards-social-security-disability-reform-act

Because of years of neglect for the disabled and elderly, many are now are forced to live in poverty, and the government should be ashamed of themselves. We have contributed our hard earned money to this system, so where is the money going that has been taken from our paychecks every week? Why should we have to become homeless, bankrupt, starve, lose our healthcare coverage, suffer untold stress on top of our illnesses, and even die trying to get our benefits?

We, the undersigned, say to all members of the US Government:

For every one of us that starves, has their utilities shut off, becomes homeless or loses their healthcare coverage because of your failure to act – we hold you responsible!

For every one of us who ends up living in poverty or files for bankruptcy because of your failure to act – we hold you responsible!

For the unfathomable stress and suffering we have inflicted upon us because of your failure to act – we hold you responsible!

For every one of us who becomes even more sick, or worse yet dies because of your failure to act – we hold you responsible!

We want to know why our elected officials seem to be ignoring this crisis and doing nothing to correct the many problems with this vital program that affects millions of sick and dying Americans.  For decades the disabled citizens of this nation have been forced to tackle a very daunting system, so we challenge you to do the same.  Use the power you have been given to finally resolve this serious situation once and for all. Please start taking care of the US citizens living in this country whom elected you into office.  It is your duty as elected officials to serve all Americans - those that voted you into that office, and even those of us who didn't. When the next election comes around we will not forget those who have forgotten us.  The government may be trying to neglect us, but remember we citizens still have, and will use our right to vote. 

It is also very important to remember that a country is only as strong as the neediest citizens who live in it, and a nation can be truly judged on how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.  We, the undersigned, disabled and healthy Americans alike, ask that you please do something to fix the Social Security Disability Insurance program now! 



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