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How the president's budget might affect SSD benefits

Oklahomans who are suffering from a condition, injury or illness that they believe is severe enough to warrant Social Security disability benefits might not be interested in politics or how the government goes about overseeing the various programs available to people in their situation. However, changes are frequently proposed that can alter how the SSD benefits are approved, how long they will last and other factors. Having a basis understanding of this is important.

The new budget proposed by President Donald J. Trump seeks changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance program. It is believed that the changes could save a minimum of $72 billion in the next 10 years. SSDI is for people who are not able to take part in substantial gainful activity, but it is widely believed to be lacking in oversight and rife with fraud. Currently, the average amount a person who receives SSDI gets is approximately $14,000 annually. Overpayments and failure to keep track of recipients is believed to be a reason for the financial issues with the program.

The Trump proposals include the following: limiting retroactive benefits; improving how administrative law judges are hired; improving the integrity of the program; and providing more work incentives and support. The retroactive benefits program allows people who are approved a lump sum payment for up to a year before they applied for SSDI. That would be limited to six months under the Trump plan. ALJs are generally viewed as inconsistent and there would be a probationary program of one year to make certain they are competent before getting the permanent job. The integrity of the program refers to preventing overpayments. Finally, the work incentives and support could save up to $50 billion over the next five years by getting those capable of doing so to get back to work.

Those who are seeking or already receiving SSDI need to be cognizant of how this budget proposal goes as it might affect their benefits. Discussing this or any other circumstance with a legal professional experienced in all aspects of the Social Security disability process can be helpful.

Source: thefiscaltimes.com, "How the Trump Budget Reforms Social Security Disability Insurance," Eric Pianin, June 9, 2017

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