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Proposed legislation may affect SSDI benefits

Disabled Tennessee residents may be interested to learn of recent bills introduced in Congress. The bills, one introduced by a Congressman and called the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Return to Work Act, as well as a mirror bill introduced by two Senators, may affect Social Security disability benefits.

The goal behind the bills is for them to modernize how the SSA classifies disability beneficiaries, and ultimately encourage those beneficiaries who are fortunate enough to recover to return to work. The bills envision the development of innovative projects to help those people who want to return to work. They are not designed to make any changes for current recipients of disability benefits, but rather to improve future disability classifications so that the SSA considers an individual's disability and capabilities in its initial assessment, and whether a person may expect to medically improve or not.

Interestingly, most recipients of disability benefits do not return to the working world. According to the Congressional Research Service, approximately 0.4 percent of SSDI recipients obtained employment that permitted them to be removed from the SSA's disability rolls. In the thirty-two year period between 1981 and 2013, the employment rate of those individuals who had work-limiting disabilities and were also of working-age declined significantly from 24.4 percent to 14.4 percent.

Those in favor of the legislation believe the bills will help reform the SSD system and make sure the SSA continues to have the funds available to pay benefits to those in need. Furthermore, proponents of the bills believe they will allow the SSA to have better guidelines to make disability determinations.

People who have questions regarding this proposed legislation, or other SSD issues, may wish to consult with an attorney experienced with Social Security disability benefits.

Source:, "Rep. Hill introduces Social Security Disability reform legislation," June 9, 2016

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