The path to Social Security disability benefits can be long and difficult to navigate. Frustratingly, even after waiting months or even years to qualify for the coverage they have rightfully earned, recipients who have been granted benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) often have to wait up to two years – or even longer – to qualify for health coverage through Medicare. In addition, five full months of benefits are taken off of the top of SSDI benefits due to antiquated rules. But a bipartisan team of one U.S. Senator and two Congressmen wants to change that.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, along with U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35), Chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee and House Budget Committee Member and U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), recently introduced a bill called “Stop the Wait Act”. The “Stop the Wait Act” would eliminate the mandated waiting periods imposed on individuals with disabilities that harm their health by delaying critical health care.
“Workers who have paid into the Social Security Disability Insurance fund should not be denied their benefits at the time they need them most,” said Senator Casey in a press release on his website. “For many individuals living with disabilities, these waiting periods can be deadly.” In 2017, more than 10,000 Americans died while waiting for SSDI benefits to begin. “We must eliminate this barrier to accessing necessary and often life-saving supports and ensure timely, equitable access to health care.”
The Stop the Wait Act aims to remove requirements that the legislators label as unnecessary and onerous. The legislation would:
“Individuals with disabilities should not face an onerous waiting period for the Social Security benefits they earned,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “Improving access to health care is vitally important, and I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation to give Americans the care they need in a proper time frame.”
This legislation is endorsed by a large number of patient advocacy groups and other organizations.