Americans who are unable to work due to physical or mental impairments may be eligible for one of two kinds of benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

  • SSDI: for people who have worked at least 10 years
  • SSI: for low-income individuals, rarely/never been employed.

On November 18, 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published in the Federal Register a new proposal regarding disability claims {Docket No. SSA-2018-0026}. A revision of  regulations regarding when and how often SSA will conduct continuing disability reviews (CDR), which are periodic reviews of eligibility required for benefit continuation is proposed.

According to Alfred Lubrano, The Philadelphia Inquirer:

More than 16 million Americans receive either SSDI (8.5 million) or SSI (8 million). SSI benefits can run to $770 a month; SSDI payments, which are based on lifetime earnings, can range from $800 to $1,800 monthly, government figures show.

Merely getting benefits is an extraordinarily difficult task, often taking years and requiring applicants to compile reams of documents, then state and restate their cases in front of hearing officers, adjudicators, and judges.

The proposed rules would add a category to the existing medical diary categories used to schedule CDRs and revise the criteria for assigning each of the medical diary categories to cases. This rule change would create a fourth category: “Medical Improvement Likely,” which would mandate disability reviews every two years, creating an additional 2.6 million reviews over the first 10-year period.

The proposed rules would also change the frequency with which CDR’s are performed for claims with the medical diary category for permanent impairments. The revised changes would ensure that SSA will continue to maintain appropriate stewardship of the disability program and identify medical improvement (MI) at its earliest point.

There is a period for public comment which ends on 1/17/2020. If you wish to respond, please follow these instructions:

Submit comments only once, using either of these methods—internet, fax, or mail. Refer to Docket No. SSA-2018-0026, with your submission.

  • Online: Use the Search function to find docket number SSA-2018-0026
  • Fax: (410) 966-2830.
  • Mail: Address your comments to the Office of Regulations and Reports Clearance, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401.
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