Disability Rights

175 petitions

Update posted 5 hours ago

Petition to President of the United States, Congress, Social Security Administration

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

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 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! 

114 supporters
Update posted 21 hours ago

Petition to Sherrod Brown, Robert Casey, Bill Cassidy, Mike Crapo, Pat Toomey, Rob Portman, DIane Feinstein, Sam Johnson, Tom Rice, David Schweikert, Vern Buchanan, Mike Kelly, Jim Renacci, Jason Smith, John Larson, Bill Pascrell, Joseph Crowley, Linda Sanchez, Anna Eshoo

Reform Social Security Disability in America

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 is reluctant to add staff because they project this shortfall 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 issue 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. Click here to download a summary and full text of the bill. Click here to ask your Senator to support this bill. Click here to ask your House member to support this bill.

Darren Eastman
1,315 supporters