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Fresno, CA Attorney Blog

Friday, November 27, 2015

New Federal Budget Includes Several "Fixes" to SSDI System

Are there any new updates to Social Security laws?


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a vital component of the Social Security system, and provides much-needed financial support to Americans facing debilitating illnesses that render them unable to work. Under the current timeline, applicants for SSDI benefits are generally required to endure a predetermined waiting period, which can be up to 5 months in some cases. Over time, however, it has become increasingly clear that a waiting period for SSDI benefits creates an unconscionable obstacle to those applicants relying on efficiency and timeliness: the terminally ill.

Currently, patients facing a terminal illness are subject to the same SSDI wait times as all other applicants, which has proven especially problematic for family members hoping to focus less on the household bills and more on what matters – their ailing loved one.

Under the provisions of a new bill introduced in September of this year, any applicant for SSDI benefits who is also facing a terminal illness would have the wait period waived, and could begin receiving benefits the same month as the diagnosis. Under the terms of the bill, a “terminal illness” is described as any illness likely to result in the death of the patient within 6 months. To qualify for the expedited processing, the applicant must submit affidavits from at least two physicians certifying that the condition is, in fact, terminal in nature.

In a statement by the bill’s sponsor (Barasso, R-WY), “[t]he last thing Americans facing end-of-life decisions should be concerned about is navigating Washington red tape . . . Our bipartisan bill will ensure that people with terminal illnesses receive benefits in a timely manner while still preserving the integrity of the system….”

If you are facing a difficult situation involving Social Security benefits, you would be well-advised to consult with a reputable attorney to help guide you through the bureaucratic maze. Call Peña & Bromberg, PLC, fresno SSDI and SSI attorneys.  We are here to help you get the benefits you deserve.


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