The Trump administration’s proposed new rule could lead to more stress for beneficiaries and a loss of benefits for some who rely on SSDI. Specifically, the rule proposes a new level of continuing disability reviews (CDRs), which the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts to determine if SSDI recipients are still eligible to receive benefits.

How CDRs and the New Rule Would Work

Claimants with disabilities currently receive occasional reviews from the SSA based on one of three different prognoses:

  • Medical Improvement Expected – every 6 months to 2 years
  • Medical Improvement Possible – every 3 years
  • Medical Improvement Not Expected – at least every 7 years

With the new rule, the prognosis of Medical Improvement Likely will be added to CDRs. This new rule would affect certain beneficiaries including those suffering from disorders including severe anxiety and diseases such as leukemia. People who fall under the category of Medical Improvement Likely would undergo a review at least every two years, which advocates for the disabled and seniors are calling unfair and unnecessary.

Individuals who undergo periodic CDRs suffer from at least one disability, and they are often older, less educated, low-income, and insecure when it comes to housing. According to the SSA, they are also three times as likely to die in a year as other individuals in their age group. Many argue that the addition of the new CDR level would further complicate the process of receiving benefits, with additional medical records and paperwork that would put more financial stress on the claimant.

The Negative Impact of the Rule

There is currently no evidence that the rule would be of any benefit to either beneficiaries or SSDI. The National Committee determined that the new rule would actually be less cost-effective because it would require additional resources to account for the new CDR level.

The process of applying for SSDI benefits is already long and daunting for many applicants, but the new rule would only make the process even more complex, even if nothing medically has changed for the applicants. As a result of being unable to navigate the process, this could even lead some to lose their benefits when they need them most.

Advocates for SSDI recipients have concluded that the new rule not only doesn’t make sense to add, but also that it displays the Trump administration’s utter indifference toward SSDI beneficiaries.