Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 3, 2015 - Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, has introduced a bill to expedite the payment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to people who are terminally ill by eliminating the five-month waiting period.
The legislation was proposed on Sept. 9 with the aim to reduce delays in processing payments for individuals who would not live long enough to receive benefits under the current law. With the new legislation, eligible individuals diagnosed to be terminally ill would begin receiving benefits in the first month of their diagnosis.
“The revision to the law ensures that terminally ill individuals receive help when they need it the most,” said David W. Magann, a prominent attorney in Tampa, Florida, whose firm specializes in Social Security disability law. “SSDI benefits provide essential support to people who cannot work due to poor health. The bill will allow those who are facing a terminal illness to focus on their health care rather than on how they will pay their bills.”
Under the legislation, a terminally ill person is defined as someone who has a medical prognosis indicating a life expectancy of six months or less. Independent certification from at least two physicians is required. The waiting period will be waived for individuals who have six months or less to live.
The bill will provide phased-in SSDI payments. Terminally ill individuals would receive 100 percent of the monthly benefits only after three months of the waiting period. Fifty percent would be paid out in the first month and 75 percent in the second month.
“The 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,” said Barrasso.
The Social Security Administration’s inspector general and commissioner will compile a yearly report on how many people apply for and receive the expedited SSDI benefits. After four years, the Government Accountability Office will evaluate the changes to the SSDI program and provide recommendations for improvement. The bill is set to sunset on Jan. 1, 2021.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618