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Pending bills may affect evaluation process for SSDI benefits

If recently proposed legislation passes, the Social Security Administration may have to change how they handle some aspects of Social Security disability benefits. A bill, introduced by two Senators, as well as a mirror bill introduced by a Congressman, aims to impact the SSA's evaluation process of disabled individuals.

The Senators' bill, called the Return to Work Act of 2016, would require the SSA to classify recipients of SSDI benefits in terms of whether they are expected to see medical improvement. For those Michigan beneficiaries who are expected to recover, the SSA would provide them with a timeline, as well as resources to help them become employed while still receiving SSDI benefits. In the event these SSDI recipients do not recover, they would have the option to reapply for benefits. Those individuals who are not expected to make a medical recovery would not be provided a timeline to participate in the new programs.

The bill's goal is to help those persons who can return to work actually return to work through use of projects that can motivate and help those who have the physical abilities to work. Better classifications that identify anticipated medical improvement would help the SSA facilitate getting those persons who can work back to work, according to proponents of the bill. Significantly, the proposed legislation would not affect current recipients of disability benefits.

Michigan residents with questions regarding the proposed legislation, or other aspects of the SSA's requirements, may wish to consult with an attorney for guidance. The process of determining disability can be complex and, as this legislation indicates, can change over time so it is beneficial to stay abreast of potential changes.

Source:, "Colton, Lee Introduce Legislation to Strengthen and Save Social Security Disability Insurance," June 9, 2016

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