Disability, SSI

Social Security to Simplify Disability Evaluation Process – Agency to Reduce Work History Period to 5 Years  

June 26, 2024 • By

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Last Updated: June 26, 2024

Social Security Administration LogoWhen people become disabled under the statutory definition the Social Security Administration must follow, the agency helps them meet their basic needs and sustain a higher quality of life. Social Security administers disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Under both programs, the agency follows a five-step process to determine if an adult has a qualifying disability.

In response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government, the agency is proud to announce changes that will reduce administrative burdens for applicants and help more people with disabilities receive government benefits and services if they are eligible. On April 18, 2024, Social Security published a final rule, “Intermediate Improvement to the Disability Adjudication Process, Including How We Consider Past Work.”

The final rule announces updates that will improve the application process for disability benefits and reduce the time applicants wait for a decision.

The new rule simplifies step four of the process, which assesses whether a person applying for disability benefits can perform any of their “past relevant work.”

“This new rule will lessen the burden and time our applicants face when filling out information about their work history and will make it easier for them to focus on the most current and relevant details about their past work,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security. “It also improves the quality of the information our frontline workers receive to make decisions, improving customer service, and reducing case processing time and overall wait times.”

Under the final rule, beginning June 22, 2024, when determining past relevant work, the agency will review only five years of past work. The previous policy required people to provide detailed information about 15 years of work history, which was difficult for individuals to remember and often led to incomplete or inaccurate reporting. Also, the agency will no longer consider past work that started and stopped in fewer than 30 calendar days. The new rule makes it easier for people applying for benefits by focusing on their most recent relevant work activity while still providing enough information to continue making accurate determinations.

This final rule is one of several regulation updates Social Security is publishing to improve its disability program. The agency recently announced it will reduce barriers to access the SSI program by updating the definition of a public assistance household. The agency also announced it will exclude the value of food from SSI benefit calculations. Additionally, the agency announced it will expand its rental subsidy exception, currently only in place for SSI applicants and recipients residing in seven States, as a nationwide policy.

The agency continuously examines programmatic policy and makes regulatory and sub-regulatory changes as appropriate. For more information on the SSDI and SSI programs – including who is eligible, how to apply, and how Social Security makes a disability determination – visit Disability and SSI.

To read the final rule, visit the Federal Register: Intermediate Improvement to the Disability Adjudication Process, Including How We Consider Past Work.

 

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  1. Fotios

    I do see one problem with the changes: if a person had a physically or mentally difficult job in the five years prior to becoming disabled and he can truly can not perform it, but he had easier jobs before those five years, it is an easy ride for him to get approved and since his last job most likely paid a higher salary, he will get a higher amount each month, thus depriving others who may be in a 50/50 situation of benefits. On the other hand, if his last job was easy to perform considering his injuries, he will be denied benefits. But how do we determine if a job is easy to perform or not may be a tough task sometimes. I guess we can not reach perfection in our decision making. More, I think the government should consider the work one did in the previous ten years because I can’t believe a person can not recall details of it, after all, the government can find out about all his employment.

    Reply
    • JERRY M.

      Agree! There are a lot of intended loop holes in this action to make it easy to get SS disability!

      We should be making it more restrictive rather than making it where people can just steal benefits based on what they say and without even having verification based on real jobs!

      Reply
      • Judy

        I was denied. I worked since I was a teen. I lost an artery supplying blood to my brain and that screwed up so much. Then I was drugged, SAd and stalked for 2 years. Whatever tgat drug was destroyed my brain more. No one cared. I rather work, earn a living and travel. However, I havent had a real job since 2007. 17 years of NO income. So quit with your hate. You dont know what you are speaking about!

        Reply
        • Tony

          Jerry wants a NAZI government. He is a disability NAZI. No disability for you.

          Reply
          • JERRY M.

            Tony: Shut up and stop calling people NAZI’s. Stop saying anyone support NAZI’s, etc. You are a natural born thief, and you are proving how illicit you are! Some of us U.S. citizens are honestly trying to grow the USA to better support all groups, including the disabled, handiapped and the ignorant! Somebody must help the ignorant, stupid people of society who are not willing to help themselves, but who are plenty willing to steal SS, SSI, welfare benefits, government assistance, etc. by lying, cheating to get on every U.S. government benefit that exists, which is just hurting all those who have paid into SS, paid taxes and lived honestly, supporting ourselves. STOP speaking for me, you do not have any approval from me to say anything! Get off your welfare Marxist-Communist approach to everything and to everyone else you are in contact with. We do not respect Marxists, Socialism, Communism, liars, or cheaters!

        • JERRY M.

          There is nothing wrong with anyone wanting to stop the illicit solicitation of our SS money, or our taxpayer money! We in USA just do not have a complete system yet where we generate the many jobs we must have to create full employment, including employment of all those with different types of physical or mental disabilities! We can expand our middle class greatly and develop the specialized systems, jobs, ways of subsistence for most disabled or handicapped persons, but too many people are not educated, or honest enough, to seek ways of supporting themselves and living better! Middle class needs to grow greatly and we must eliminate all the lower class attitudes that support living off welfare programs, SSI, SS, Medicaid, etc.

          Reply
  2. Greg f.

    I thought SS, SDI, etc funds are almost depletrd. Going from 15 year to a 5year evaluation seems guarteed to spend more on people that think they can get by on disabolity. Sorry about spelling.
    I.was on disability at age 62. problems?
    Botched tripl3 bypass, minor stroke, palsy, diabetes, epilepzy. Doctors filled out all the paperwork and it still took 3 requests and a year to gt it.
    I guess they thoght i wanted to transition from 85k as an engineer to a 18k ?.

    NOW: HOW MANY would become disabled” if the equation was work for 25/yr or not work for 18k/yr?
    A little side gig on the down low, why work? And you dont have medical bills to pay!!

    How many doctors would enhance your disability for a fee of some sort? Think about the doctors who overprescrided pain killers for money.
    BTW, why not 3yrs or 2yrs?

    Is the reduced 5 yr look back designed to help illegal immigrants? Creating 5 yrs of paperwork documentation is a snap with AI . Can you spell CORUPTION?!

    Reply
    • Mary w.

      Corruption

      Reply
    • JERRY M.

      Greg: You are a respected person! I hope you are able to enjoy life as much as you can with the problems you are so unfortunate to have taken over your health! You are an honest person, and you paid into the SS system, and paid Federal income taxes, so you clearly deserve the assistance you are able to get from SS, etc. I am sorry you have experienced all these negative things, but at least you seem to still be independent and able to live at home. Hopefully, you are getting the health support and assistance you need to remain in as good health as possible, and to stay out of full-time nursing home living, as long as possible.

      Reply
  3. JERRY M.

    Just another way of giving our government tax money, and SS funds, to SS-DI and SSI-DI disability thieves!

    Now we are making it easier, and somewhat simple, to STEAL disability from our already depleted Social Security funds, and from our government funds supplied by income taxes!

    Cannot get much sorrier than letting more people lie, cheat and steal money from our SS funds or government tax funds!

    We very much need to be strengthening our Social Security fund, not depleting it even more, so it fails quicker!

    We see us at a very critical juncture where if we do not work hard enough to solve our very serious problems we have due to the bad segments of U.S. society, problems with the Marxist-Communists intent to destroy America, and their intent to establish Marxism or Communism, we will lose our individual rights, our Social Security annuities, and get cheated out of our own money we pay into Federal income taxes!

    We must get all our factories, plants, money, investments, workers, businesses, companies, retirement funds, non-union jobs, good paying jobs and small businesses back into the USA so we can GREATLY GROW the middle class where we can eliminate all forms of welfare programs, welfare type tax credits, political earmarks, grants and financial favors by politicians!

    WE CAN have full and complete employment if we get all our resources and sources of incomes back into America where Americans get all the good jobs and get to start all the small, profitable businesses we need to GROW the middle class and to grow the lower class out into the middle class! We must eliminate the lower class and welfare programs to make any progress toward a very prosperous and strong America!

    Reply
    • Gregfjc

      Right on!

      Reply
      • Tony

        Jerry sold you on the idea of a Nazi government. You are nothing but white trash to him. You haven’t been listening to all his rantings.

        Reply
        • JERRY M.

          Tony: Shut up and get off your welfare benefits, SSI, etc. We honest people are not going to let riff-raff steal any more of our money! We do not need anymore lying, cheating to get on any kind of government benefits! We certainly do not want anyone stealing our SS funds! We are going to get those who lied and cheated to get SS, SSI, Welfare benefits, etc. off the programs and back to working to eat and live in USA!

          Reply
    • Wendy

      Jerry, I’m sure you’re told this a lot. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Two SEPARATE FUNDS.

      Reply
      • JERRY M.

        Wendy: We are not stupid or ignorant. I have known about separate funds longer than you have been born! And, I doubt you even really know what the funds are, or how they are administered! SSI was passed and hidden from the general public knowledge because the politicians did not want it known that SSI and SSI-DI are welfare funds, not SS funds! Many people still like to present SSI and SSI-DI as Socail Security but has never been true and is not true now! The reason some people have to pay taxes on SS incomes is because SSI and SSI-DI was passed! You need to learn what you are talking about!

        Reply
        • Tony

          Jerry’s time on earth should be ending soon. It will be a relief for everyone once he is gone. Everyone is going to celebrate. Hip hip hooray the fool is dead.

          Reply
          • JERRY M.

            Tony: You are going to be prosecuted for stealing SSI and welfare benefits! We all know you are a sorry person now! Get off all the SSI, welfare benefits, Meidcaid and stop eating and living out of all the government welfare pig feed troughs. Starve so we do not have to pay for your existence! We do not like cocky illicit welfare suckers!

    • Marquies

      Not True if you Work you paid into ssdi so it’s your money if you become disabled! Ssi yes people are abusing it!! Speak facts!!

      Reply
      • JERRY M.

        Marquies: You are honest person! And, you are very right, a lot of people have abused SSI, SSI-DI, SS-DI and all welfare programs! Many, many people are still abusing all of them, and they plan to continue stealing the benefits under false pretenses, which must be stopped! SS does not have the funds, and tax paying citizens cannot, and will not pay taxes to support dishonest, illicit recipients! Thank you for honesty, it seems kinda rare these days!

        Reply
    • Wayne

      These companies left USA for cheaper labor,They are running from you and your high wages . They go overseas and produce the products for pennies and send them back to USA for you to purchase ×10.They weren’t forced to go overseas they were Glad to go.Wake up.

      Reply
      • JERRY M.

        That is what Communist like U.S. unions do! Unions overvalue each individual’s work and unions force the public to pay more than products are actually worth! So, USA could have full employment and so many businesses and jobs that unions would not be able to control wages like they used to do! Everyone just needs to work and get paid individually, for what they actually produce at a fair, reasonable price! Unions equal collectivism and Marxism! Hopefully, the U.S. will learn not to let unions price us out of markets.

        Reply
  4. Karen H.

    I’m 63 and have worked since I was 16. I received my ex-husband’s SS Survivor’s Benefits and have been for past 3 years. It is the only way I would have been able to pay my bills and rent each month. It supplemented my work income. Then in March 2023 I suffered a stroke and while recovering I was diagnosed with a rare throat tumor (cancer). I was put on disability by my physician first from the stroke as I have limited use of my right arm, leg and hands. I went to SS office to apply for Disability benefits under my own account. I was approved for disability but I was told I could only collect one check. Either my husband survivor’s benefits or my disability benefits. I cannot make it off just his Social Security survivors benefits. And I’m not able to work. I want to work but I can’t. I’m not eligible for unemployment nor is there State Disability Insurance in Oregon. What am I supposed to do? Why can’t I claim benefits off of my own account? I worked my whole life for that money and now I can’t even collect it. I’m on the verge of being evicted in 14 days and I’m supposed to be battling cancer and resting? It just doesn’t seem right if you can’t work and you’re eligible for disability but yet you can’t collect off your own account. Does this new Bill consider disability benefits to people who are collecting off their deceased husband’s survivor benefits account and are unable to work?

    Reply
    • T.Y.

      Hi, Karen. Thanks for reading our blog and for your question. If a person is eligible for Social Security benefits on their own record, they can only get benefits as a surviving spouse if their survivors benefit is less. Generally, survivors benefits are paid at a higher percentage. For more information on survivors benefits visit our survivors page. We hope this information is helpful.

      Reply
  5. Chevonne M.

    I remember that not only did I have a hard time getting supplemental disability because of other disabilities I was having kept me from receiving back pay that I never received to help me get on my feet but trying to work because I had no choice kept me in a state of disillusion that I didn’t have disabilities which in time proved that I really had mental health problems which I’m still white knuckling and cause an over payment trying to stay afloat. I pray that someone looks into my case and that I get some type of relief instead of feeling like a slave to the government. It’s scary to be me.

    Reply
  6. Miguel P.

    Our child John, 24 yrs old was diagnosed suffering from Autism Syndrome when he was four years old. We enrolled him to a special school catering for kids suffering from Autism syndrome Disorder. Up to this date, he is still enrolled to that special school. Tuition fees is a huge financial challenge to our financial budget. Is there any available assistance to eased up this financial burden? Your positive reply will be a big help. God Bless

    Reply
    • Tinker

      He should have been getting social security since he was first diagnosed.

      Reply
      • Retired

        Not necessarily. They may have had too much money to qualify for SSI. Now, I think he can apply.

        Reply
    • Retired

      I believe he can apply for SSI, unless he has money in his name. See this link https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/eligibility

      Reply
  7. MD

    I like the following statement from you “It also improves the quality of the information our frontline workers receive to make decisions, improving customer service, and reducing case processing time and overall wait” . One of the problems SS is known for. Long wait processes in line and telephone. You must also address telephone waiting which takes between 40-45 minutes! I also like what president Bidens on his executive order on service delivery to the public as well as government trust. 🙄 Let’s hope for the best

    Reply
    • T.Y.

      Hi, MD. Thank you for reading our blog and for your comments. Commissioner Martin J. O’Malley has been focused on the most pressing issues facing the agency and one of the top priorities is reducing call wait times. For information, check out our blog Commissioner O’Malley’s First 100 days Accomplishments | SSA. We hope this information is helpful.

      Reply
    • JERRY M.

      All this 5 year action does is just make it easy and convenient for Social Security thieves to steal our money out of our Social Security and Social Security disability funds! Social security will stop paying disability in a few years because the programs are corrupt and the program funds will be so limited there will be no way to pay disability, SSI, or SSI-DI. Nothing like Biden or corrupt individuals who choose to steal from government and tax paying citizens, no matter who they are, even doctors.

      Reply
  8. Paula B.

    I am not sure what you are asking from me

    Reply
  9. Paula B.

    Okay

    Reply
  10. Ana

    Ok

    Reply
    • james L.

      I have bee n drawing SS for 20 years,I am retired military and have a VA disability for my military service. I have never considered a SS disability.What is required to qualify? thanks

      Reply
      • Wayne

        Disability through ss stops at full retirement age.it just turns into ss benefits. Va disability compensation is for life.

        Reply
      • T.Y.

        Thanks for your service and for reading our blog, James. When a person is under full retirement age (FRA), they can apply for disability benefits. If approved, we automatically convert the disability benefits to retirement benefits when they reach FRA, but the amount remains the same. If you are receiving retirement benefits at FRA, you are already receiving the highest amount that you are due from Social Security. Once a person reaches full retirement age, they can’t apply for or receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. You can find information on FRA here. We hope this information helps.

        Reply
      • JERRY M.

        VA disability programs are corrupt enough without bringing Social Security or SSI into consideration to just make room for more dishonest actions to drain money from SS or VA. VA is paid for by government tax paying citizens, so we need to keep it honest and keep VA taking care of Veterans’ medical needs and real disabilities. Hopefully, we will have enough sense to stop foolish wars so we will not be injuring our soldiers, or even worse, getting them killed for useless reasons, sometimes!

        Reply

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