Debt Deal Could Mean More SSD Eligibility Reviews

The summer of 2011 was filled with heated debate about the debt ceiling and reducing the national debt. While a deal was ultimately reached on this issue, America’s politicians didn’t lose a step by continuing the national discussion of debt reduction, spending reform and caps, and entitlement reform, including Social Security disability insurance (SSD). All of this is sure to be played out in the political arena, but for injured workers, there is one bit of noteworthy news.

The deficit-reduction deal that was reached during the summer placed caps on spending. However, an exemption to the caps was given to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Wall Street Journal reports that this exemption could allow the SSA to increase the number of reviews it conducts to determine recipients continued eligibility for disability payments. The bill does not specifically allocate money to the SSA for this purpose, but does not place caps on or limit Congress’ ability to appropriate monies to the SSA.

The SSA reports that reviewing recipients’ eligibility for Social Security disability actually saves the government money. The agency notes that an average of 12 percent of recipients lose their eligibility for disability benefits after reviews. This equates to a $10 savings in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for every $1 spent on reviews.

Reviews generally consist of examining medical records and/or examinations by doctors.

SSD benefits are monthly payments made to workers who are disabled to the point that they are unable to perform work for a year or more. Workers who meet the SSA’s definition of disabled and have worked at a job that is covered by Social Security are eligible to receive SSD benefits.