Trump proposal would eliminate benefits for tens of thousands of people with disabilities
The Trump Administration's War on the Vulnerable is on the march.
We all remember that Trump likes to make fun of disabled people.
He also tried to take away their Medicaid and funding for in-home services, by repealing Obamacare. In 2017, the then-Republican majority House passed HR 620 that would weaken protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Now, he wants to take away benefits from tens of thousands of disabled Americans.
The Trump Administration has proposed a change to Social Security that would ramp up how often people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits have to prove they are still qualified to receive them.
According to the Administration, this extra oversight would help "maintain appropriate stewardship of the disability program." It argues that current benefit testing doesn't fully account for the possibility of medical improvement.
Currently, there are three different categories of SSDI benefits:
Medical Improvement Expected: Review every six to 18 months. e.g. bone fractures, kidney disease (alleviated by kidney transplant), low birth weight.
Medical Improvement Possible: Review every three years. Non-permanent impairments. e.g. Schizophrenia, chronic ulcerative colitis, epilepsy.
Medical Improvement Not Expected: Review every five to seven years. e.g. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, leg amputation at the hip.
The Trump Administration proposes to add a fourth category, "Medical Improvement Likely." These recipients would undergo a review every two years.
According to the Administration, the number of reviews would increase by 18% which would cost approximately $1.6 billion to execute over the next ten years. It's expected to save the Social Security Administration $2.8 billion by cutting the number of beneficiaries.
So, to put things in basic terms, Trump's cuts to SSDI look to save the country about $120 million a year by going after people with disabilities. Which seems rather arbitrary given the fact that the Trump Administration cares next to nothing about fiscal responsibility when it comes to the rest of the federal budget.
But suddenly he turns into a penny-pincher when it comes to the country's most vulnerable people: the disabled.
So, if we're looking for consistency with Trump, fiscal discipline isn't where we'll find it. But when it comes to being cruel to America's most vulnerable, Trump is consistent as can be.