December 14, 2020

The U.S. government pays disability benefits to people with a serious condition that leaves them unable to work full time. But the Trump administration has been trying to cut the number of people on the program for a while, and now Trump is planning to redefine full-time work as 30 hours per week for purposes of determining whether someone is disabled. Many people would lose their meager benefits as a result. Via Huffington Post:

The tighter eligibility standard, which has not been previously reported, is part of a draft rule that, if finalized, would bring sweeping changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance program. It would follow multiple other efforts by the Trump administration to cut social programs that help people afford food, health care and housing.

“Shifting the standard from 40 hours to 30 hours would definitely lead to fewer disability benefit awards,” said Kathleen Romig, a disability policy expert with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which opposes disability cuts.

The full draft rule, which has not been formally released yet, is the culmination of years of work by the Social Security Administration to update its data on the U.S. labor market ― and years of grumbling by Republicans and right-wing think tanks about how disability benefits coddle people who supposedly could get jobs.

Anyone who's gone through the application process (which usually takes years and almost always includes several instances of being turned down) knows what a joke that is. Despite decades of mythology stating otherwise, it is very difficult to get approved. You know when my ex-husband was finally approved? Two days after his death from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

Instead of running a humane program that approves benefits for the people who need it to live with some degree of dignity, conservatives always revert to making it much harder for them to get the help they need.

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