New Rule Modernizes How We Award Disability Benefits

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The Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society. A successful disability program must evolve and support making the right decision as early in the process as possible. To help us do that, we must modernize the rules and standards we use to evaluate how we determine disability benefits. We are moving forward with a rule change that has been in the works for a number of years and serves to update a more than 40-year-old policy that made the inability to communicate in English a factor in awarding disability benefits. The new rule is effective April 27, 2020.

We are required to consider education to determine if your medical condition prevents work. In 2015, our Inspector General recommended that we evaluate the appropriateness of this policy. Research now shows the inability to communicate in English is no longer a good measure of a person’s education level or the ability to engage in work. The new rule also supports the Administration’s longstanding focus of recognizing that individuals with disabilities can remain in the workforce.

To make the right disability decisions, Social Security disability rules must continue to reflect current medicine and evolution of work. We need to update our rules to keep up with society’s changes.

We owe it to the American public to ensure that our disability programs continue to reflect the realities of the modern workplace. Please share this information with your family and friends.

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533 thoughts on “New Rule Modernizes How We Award Disability Benefits

  1. Where Can I send documents to the Social Security Disability Office to update my information and reestablish my account that was stop

  2. With all of the circumstances surrounding Covid my concern right now is going over the monthly $1260 limit with the $600 weekly unemployment payment that is automatically included for those of us that work part time in addition to receiving SSDI. I rely on my part time income to care for my family. Will this income put me at risk for losing my monthly disability Payments?

    • Hi Lisa, thank you for your question. Unemployment benefits do not affect or reduce Social Security retirement and disability benefits. State unemployment compensation payments are not wages because they are paid due to unemployment rather than employment. However, income from Social Security may reduce your unemployment compensation. Contact your state unemployment office for information on how your state applies the reduction.

      If you’re receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), unemployment insurance benefits are considered unearned income. If you, your spouse, or a child living in your household have any income other than your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment, including unemployment insurance benefits, you must tell us.

      To learn more about SSI and how income affects your payment, read What You Need to Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

  3. I’m receiving disability benefits. My ex-husband has retired and I will be receiving a monthly check from his pension. Will this affect my disability benefits?

  4. If one person is desability over 61 year old and planing go to spain living there If go to living there no more need government medicaid because there is for free medical and social security no has to pay for that services my question is my husband cant go live spain with the Desability this year have 2 years receiving SSD

  5. Hi my husband Have Desability at long term this year have two years my question we planning to Spain live there no need the medicaid because is free there and SSA saving that option he is citizen from spain and USA too My question is he cant live there?

    • Hi Aida, thanks for your question. Our publication, “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States”, explains how being outside the United States may affect Social Security payments.

      If your husband is a U.S. citizen, he may continue to receive payments outside the United States as long as he’s eligible for payment and he is in a country where we can send payments. If not a U.S. citizen, he must meet one of the conditions for payment described in this publication.

      Check out our Payments Abroad Screening Tool to see if benefits will continue indefinitely, stop after six consecutive months or if certain country specific restrictions apply.

      We also recommend that individuals planning to leave the United States visit our Office of International Operations home page, which provides additional information for our customers living abroad. We hope this information helps!

  6. This is great information however, perhaps also addressing the inconsistencies and individual office complaints should be addressed. My husband is dealing with an office that gets 2.7 review rating with very detailed complaints about how people are treated. He has “four” auto-immune conditions. He mentioned it is difficult to focus and he has become more forgetful due to the medications however, the person handling this states she will deny unless he gets a Psychologist to determine if he is depressed! Well who wouldn’t be somewhat depressed with lupus, RA, fibromyalgia and more, taking six different medications including over the counter pain meds to get through some of the days. She sends letters that I must call as someone who is authorized to speak – I call and she asks why I am calling and not him. Someone else handled it for two weeks and it was moving forward with his doctors recommendations but then the other person returned to the same old stuff. Depressed – of course he is! How about additional oversight to process claims and treat people like human beings – please?

  7. I receive disability and was wondering is the payment received for the month of May payment for the month of June?

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