Senators Urge Trump to End Attempts to Cuts Social Security Disability Benefits
On January 28, 2020, 41 senators banded together to draft and send a letter to Social Security Commissioner Andrew M. Paul opposing the Trump Administration’s proposal that would effectively eliminate the ability of hundreds of thousands of people to collect an estimated $2.6 billion in Social Security disability benefits over a decade.
Democratic Senators Sign Letter Opposing Social Security Cuts
The January 28th letter was signed by presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, as well as a number of other high-profile senators including Kamala D. Harris, Kristen Gillibrand, Cory A. Booker, Charles E. Schumer and Dianne Feinstein.
According to the letter, the senators referred to the proposed rule as a transparent attempt from the Trump administration to make it harder for Americans to access much needed support and benefits. The letter strongly requested that the SSA withdraw the new rule immediately.
What the Proposed Social Security Cuts Would Do
The rule at issue was published by the Social Security Administration in the Federal Register in November of 2019. The rule would require more frequent continuing disability reviews (CDRs) for disabled people who want to retain their ability to receive disability benefits. In effect, according to the letter, the proposed rule would burden millions of disabled Americans with more frequent and unjustified reviews of their eligibility for benefits under both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
Senators Suggest Proposed Security Cuts Defective
The senators stated that in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Social Security Administration did not meet its burden to establish support for the rule on a number of levels. According to the letter, the NPR was defective due to the following criteria:
- the rule failed to establish a need for proposed changes
- it failed to justify the proposed procedural changes
- it failed to fully evaluate the effects on beneficiaries; and
- it failed to provide adequate cost-benefit analysis.
Furthermore, the proposal seems not to even provide a cursory estimate of the number of people who will lose access to benefits sooner than they would have otherwise had the rule not been established.
Senators Called the SSA to Task
The senators sharply criticized the SSA, stating that at the very time when the SSA purports to be making efforts to reduce unacceptably long disability application wait times and eliminate the disability backlog, through the proposed rule it effectively devotes its limited resources toward making it more difficult for people with disabilities to receive the very benefits that they rely upon.
Bob Casey (Penn.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), two of the Democratic senators who spearheaded the letter effort, spoke at a live-streamed #NoSocialSecurityCuts event that featured statements from advocates for individuals with disabilities.
Casey called the government to task, suggesting that every one of them should ask themselves an essential question every morning: “Will I spend today advancing the cause of justice or not?” Casey went on to say that the proposed rule is wrong, and is a mistake, not in the interest of justice and adverse to members of our society who desperately need assistance.
Sherrod Brown described the proposed rule as mean-spirited, and highlighted President Donald Trump’s comments made at the World Economic Forum’s annual summit that he intended to push for cuts to social programs.
Other Groups Join Campaign Opposing Social Security Cuts
Representative Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.) joined the members of the Senate and other activists who spoke out against the proposed rule change, saying in no uncertain terms that the rule was wrong, cruel, and not in keeping with the vision of a just society. Boyle represented more than 100 lawmakers in the House who have submitted a separate letter in opposition of the SSA proposed rule.
As you can imagine, the administration’s proposal also has been met with significant opposition from the public. In fact, well over 114,000 people have engaged in a letter writing campaign sponsored by Social Security Works and other organizations opposed to the rule, and an additional 10,000 or more have submitted letters of their own through a campaign initiated by the Alliance for Retired Americans.
The Alliance for Retired Americans’ Executive Director Richard Fiesta referred to the proposal as cruel and dangerous. As opposed to entitlement programs, Social Security is a program that Americans pay into. Social Security disability benefits are earned over years of hard work, in the same way that retirement benefits are earned. Mr. Fiesta suggested strongly that the SSA should concentrate on making it easier for people to claim the benefits they need and are eligible for, rather than harder.
Social Security Attorneys – Long Beach, CA
Social Security attorneys at Cantrell Green understand the importance of Social Security benefits to their clients, and that any change to the system can have a significant impact, not only financially, but emotionally as well. We will continue to monitor the proposed rule and its impact on benefits, and ensure that our clients are aware of how the proposed changes may affect them. If you live in the Long Beach area and have questions about your Social Security benefits, give our office a call to schedule a consultation. We are glad to put our expertise to work for you.
Free Social Security Disability Attorney Consultation: 800-964-8047