new law disability wait timesA bill was recently introduced in Congress with the goal of dramatically reducing the waiting period for people to start receiving disability benefits. U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) and  U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) introduced the Stop the Wait Act.

After waiting months to qualify for coverage, people have to wait an addition five months before they start actually seeing the benefits from SSDI. Senator Bob Casey: “Workers who have paid into the Social Security Disability Insurance fund should not be denied their benefits at the time they need them most. For many individuals living with disabilities, these waiting periods can be deadly. We must eliminate this barrier to accessing necessary and often life-saving supports and ensure timely, equitable access to health care.”

It is estimated that in 2017, as many as 10,000 Americans died while waiting for their social security benefits to start. These wait times affect people with rapidly growing illnesses most, illnesses such as Huntingdon’s Disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis and other conditions.

The Act is aimed at accomplishing the following things:

  1. Requiring SSDI to begin payment immediately and eliminating the typical five month wait time.
  2. Phase out the 24 month waiting period for Medicare disability benefits.
  3. Directing the National Academy of Medicine to monitor and ensure the elimination of waiting periods.

This piece of legislation has no real downside. People are entitled to benefits from a system that they have been paying into all of their adult lives.

There is great hope that this act will be passed and we can get rid of the wait times altogether.

Senator Brown: “Social Security Disability Insurance is a lifeline for individuals who can’t work because of a disability. This legislation eliminates unnecessary red tape that leads to gaps in disability insurance and healthcare coverage, and ensures Americans don’t lose access to the benefits they have earned.”

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