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Proposed changes to law could affect SSD benefits for many

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are vital for people who are disabled, ill, injured or suffering from a condition. This is true in Oklahoma and across the nation. There are certain requirements for a person to be approved for SSD benefits. Once they are approved, there are still rules that must be followed to continue getting the disability payments. One -- the disability review -- could be changing and this may affect many people who are already getting benefits. With SSD claims, it is important to understand the value of legal representation.

A proposal from the Trump administration would add a new layer to the disability reviews, and the determination as to whether the benefits should continue. Disability reviews are a key part of a case as the Social Security Administration has periodic assessments of the person's condition. The reviews are scheduled based on the severity of the condition that warranted the approval of benefits. If a person has a severe condition that is not expected to improve, they will be placed in the category of "Medical Improvement Not Expected." Other categories are "Medical Improvement Expected" and "Medical Improvement Possible."

Under the proposed change, a new category would be added: "Medical Improvement Likely." The categories are designed to help with the review, so a decision can be made for the benefits to continue or to be stopped. The new category, if it is implemented, would require disability recipients to be reviewed every two years. That would add approximately 2.6 million people to the list of people who get reviewed in the first decade of it coming into practice.

The issue that is worrisome for disability advocates is that the new rule will specifically target children and elderly people. Those who are categorized as "Step 5 recipients" whose issues prevent them from working or making working exceedingly difficult and get Supplemental Security Income or SSD could lose their benefits based on this new classification.

When seeking SSD benefits, meeting the requirements and being approved is only part of the process. With this new proposal, those who are getting or seeking SSD benefits could suffer the consequences. This serves as an example of the potential challenges a person faces when disabled.

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The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

414 NW 4th Street Suite 140
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Phone: 405-896-8852
Fax: 405-272-0367
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