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February 15, 2017

Potential Changes to Disability Social Security Under the Trump Administration

Image 1: Applicants Attend the Hearing for Disability Social Security Claims

The recent executive order from President Donald Trump freezing federal hiring and the proposed Republican reforms to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would change eligibility for and utilization of disability social security. The changes are expected to be drastic.

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Status of Disability Claims

Claims for Social Security disability insurance are rising. Applications jumped from 1.9 million a decade ago to 2.7 million. The rate of approval of the Social Security Administration, however, is low, at only 36% of all claims filed from 2004 to 2013. Around 25% received benefits for initial claim, 2% were approved through appeals, while 11% are still being considered at hearings. Social Security benefits give income support to people who paid contributions, but, because of disability, could no longer work for a year or more.

Approval for disability Social security is low, while processing takes a long time. At of the end of 2016, 1,650 judges studied and decided on disability claims. Around 1.1 million applicants with disability await their decision for eligibility. Furthermore, waiting for a hearing can extend the application process for a year or more. The entire processing puts the bulk of responsibility on the applicant who is expected to ensure that the right materials go to the right people at particular schedules.

How the Federal Hiring Freeze Would Affect Disability Social Security

The hiring freeze of federal government employees would impact eligibility for disability social security. Trump's executive decision imposed a federal hiring freeze on staff who are not connected to national security or public safety, which clearly does not include the Social Security workforce. The or der also enables the director of the Office of Personnel Management to provide exemptions, does not include Social Security personnel too.

White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, informed the press that the blanket freeze aims to produce a more efficient and effective government for American taxpayers. Social Security commissioners stressed, however, that the administration needs more judges and employees working on disability claims. Preventing them from hiring more would hurt disability processing outcomes.

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How Other Republican Reforms May Impact Disability Social Security

Currently, Republican lawmakers seek to repeal or revise the ACA which would affect disability Social Security eligibility and care. ACA prohibits insurers from excluding recipients with preexisting conditions. If ACA is repealed, those with preexisting disabilities may not be eligible for insurance, while others would not be able to access much needed care. They would be required to pay for healthcare from their own pockets instead. If they have little or no income, such changes would result in their bankruptcy. Furthermore, Trump and some Republican lawmakers support a block-grant system, which would put limits on federal funding for disability social security and shift greater control to states. This would likewise reduce covered care for disabilities under Social Security. Lower eligibility and coverage for disability Social Security affects hospitals and clinics financially. Uninsured and underinsured patients with disability will put pressure on their revenue cycle management.

About DECO: More than two decades of experience enable us to help clients uphold the integrity of insurance coverage, maximize government and managed care programs, and do everything needed to get patients enrolled. We are experts in processing disability Social Security benefits, in order for providers to get paid in the most effective and efficient manner. Sources: “Steps to successfully apply for Social Security disability,”“Trump’s Hiring Freeze May Worsen 526-Day Disability Case Backlog,” “Trump Win Brings Uncertainty On Disability Policy,”

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Potential changes to disability social security under the trump administration  

Trump’s federal hiring freeze would result in lower access to Disability Social Security, while ACA changes may reduce eligibility and care...

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