Proposed SSA Policy May Prevent Gun Ownership by SSDI Recipients

Under a new proposal, some Michigan recipients of Social Security Disability benefits may be prevented from owning firearms. The Obama administration has released a proposal that would affect those SSDI recipients who receive benefits due to a mental impairment. This is SSA news that could impact a large number of Michigan residents.

According to the proposed policy, SSDI recipients who receive benefits due to a mental impairment and also have a designated representative payee due to their mental impairment will no longer be permitted to purchase a gun. These persons will have their names listed in the National Instant Background Check System, which licensed firearms dealers must review before selling guns to customers. This potential change may mean that millions of people will not be permitted to own firearms. Significantly, however, the Social Security Administration has indicated that it would not retroactively apply the rule to those who have already been determined to be disabled.

If the policy goes into effect, those persons placed on the banned list will have an option to appeal, asking to be removed from the list. They may also be able to bring a challenge in the court system.

Those opposed to the change, including both gun rights advocates and disability advocates, believe the change will violate the constitutional rights of many Americans by preventing them from being allowed to own firearms. In contrast, those in favor of the proposal believe it will keep guns out of the hands of people who are too dangerous to be owning firearms.

Currently, there is an ongoing open 60-day public comment period, following which the Social Security Administration will review the public’s comments. Applicants for SSDI benefits may wish to keep abreast of this current discussion.

Source: The Washington Times, “Social Security moves to block mentally impaired from owning guns,” Stephan Dinan, Jessica Chasmar, May 5, 2016