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Proposed Rule May Result in Colorado SSI and SSDI Recipients Losing Benefits

According to recent estimates, over 63 million people, or one in six Americans, collect social security benefits. Older Americans make up about four-fifths of social security recipients. In December of last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published a proposed rule that could have a major impact on many Colorado Social Security recipients. Although the proposed rule has not yet received significant media attention, it has the potential to subject millions of Americans to a more stringent review process.

Under the Social Security Act, the SSA must conduct periodic continuing disability reviews of anyone who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The general rule is that these reviews must be conducted every three years. However, the SSA can extend the period of time between reviews if the recipient’s disability is determined to be permanent.

As it stands today, the SSA uses a three-tier classification system to determine how often continuing disability reviews must be conducted. The first tier is for those where medical improvement is not expected, and is reserved for recipients with the most severe conditions. This tier of recipients is reviewed by the SSA every seven years. The next tier of recipients is classified as those with “medical improvement possible.” The SSA reviews these recipients every three years. Finally, the third tier of recipients is those for which medical improvement is expected. These recipients are evaluated by the SSA between every six and eighteen months.

Under the newly proposed rule, an additional category of review would be created titled “medical improvement likely.” Recipients who are placed in this category would be reviewed for benefit eligibility every two years. According to a recent news report, there are an approximated 4.4 million social security recipients who are expected to fall under the new classification, which is intended to include some children with early diagnoses with outcomes that are difficult to predict. It would also include older persons with health conditions that “typically do not result in permanent, irreversible structural damage and are amenable to improving with treatment.” The idea is that this group could potentially return to the workforce.

The SSA provided a few of the diagnoses that may fit under the newly proposed category, including certain cancer listings that include a specified minimum period of disability, speech impairments, anxiety disorders, and children who have solid malignant tumors. Unfortunately, it is believed that the most impacted group of recipients will be those who are between 50 to 65 years of age, are not in good health, and lack advanced education or significant work history.

Are You Concerned About Your Social Security Benefits?

If you are concerned about your Social Security benefits, contact a Colorado estate planning attorney at Braverman Law Group. At Braverman Law Group, we represent clients in all aspects of estate planning, helping them plan for the years ahead. Our attorneys are kept up-to-date with all changes to social security benefit eligibility, and make sure that our clients are advised accordingly. We also skillfully handle Colorado Medicaid planning issues, gun trusts, wills, trust administration matters, as well as special needs planning. When it comes to planning for the future of your family, Braverman Law Group can help. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 303-800-1588 today.

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