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Administration's proposed rule could trim SSD benefits for some

Although it has been getting relatively little attention in the press until recently, the Social Security Administration has proposed a new regulation that could serve to cull many Texans from the list of those who receive disability benefits.

The rule affects those who are already drawing Social Security disability benefits. As those in the Houston area who read this blog know, qualifying for benefits in the first place can be a complicated and difficult task to accomplish, especially without the help of a professional.

After a person starts drawing benefits, the Social Security Administration will set a schedule to review the person's medical status. The more serious the medical condition, the less often a person will have to undergo review.

For instance, someone with ALS will only be reviewed every five to seven years. However, a child who is born premature with a low birth weight will potentially be reviewed twice a year, as medical improvement is expected in the latter case but not the former.

This new rule changes these categories by creating a Medical Improvement Likely classification, which will warrant a review every two or so years. This means an additional 2.6 million reviews will have to take place in the first decade of the new rule should it be implemented.

What is controversial about it is that people whose age got considered in making the disability determination, that is, people over 50, will be likely to fall into this classification, meaning they will be subject to more frequent scrutiny.

To be clear, this does not mean that the right of these people to receive benefits will change. If they are disabled, these people will continue to draw benefits. The change is that the Administration will be looking at their files more often to see if they still meet the criteria.

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