, 17 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD: I know there’s a lot going on in the world that is taking all of our attention. But a rules change was just implemented here in #Pennsylvania that is going to cause a lot of unwarranted suffering for people with #Disabilities, and everyone should know about it. /1
Starting April 20th, all people with #Disabilities who are applying for Social Security benefits have a whole new bureaucratic layer to wade through. /2
The process was already complex & time consuming:
Application (2-4 months)
State Disability bureau (3-6 months)
SSA Hearing office (12-20 months)
And that doesn’t even count the Appeals Council /3
But now, the SSA has mandated that a “Reconsideration” process be introduced between the state agency and the Hearing office. According to this article, it is going to add over 100 days to the already prolonged process! /4
What is “reconsideration”? It’s when a person disagrees with a denial, and asks the state agency to reconsider. And then they repeat the *same exact process* but with a different adjudicator looking at the materials. /5
So let’s talk about how many people this will affect. The number of people who file for SSA disability benefits each year and make it to the state agencies ranges from between 1.3 and 1.9 million people (across the last 10 years). /6
Here in #Pennsylvania, the state agency handles about 145,000 cases each year.
And all of those folks are going to see a 100+ day delay in processing. /7
Here are actual #Pennsylvania wait times from initial denial until judge hearing:
⏰Elkins Park – 17 months
⏰Philly – 13 months
⏰Johnstown – 15 months
⏰Pittsburgh – 18.5 months /8
This reconsideration process, according to that @PittsburghPG article, will spare 13% of people those long hearing office wait times. But EVERYONE, including the 87% who won’t benefit, will now have to wait an extra 100+ days! /9
I work as support staff for a law office that handles #Disability cases (disclaimer – this thread does not represent their views, just my own). And I can tell you for 100% certain, those 100+ days will matter. /10
We have had people with #Disabilities die waiting to receive benefits.
We have had MANY people go into foreclosure.
We have had EVEN MORE people evicted.
We have homeless clients.
Those 100+ extra days matter a LOT. /11
Some of our #Pennsylvania lawmakers have been at the front of talking about this issue. @RepDwightEvans is one of them – he’s been retweeting a lot of content like this... and it is great that he's bringing attention to the issue /12
And @SenBobCasey has been outspoken in his criticism of this new policy, which is going to hurt Pennsylvanians with #Disabilities. (also taken from that excellent @PittsburghPG article) /13
There’s not a whole lot we can do right now to change this process. For now, Reconsideration and it’s 100+ day delay, is a reality. But everyone needs to know that these are the kind of bureaucratic changes being enacted… /14
…by Trump Administration department heads. And these are the kinds of policy/process changes that are made when there is a party in power who has little regard for the social safety net, and less concern for the suffering of their fellow humans. /15
Please talk about this.
Express your upset that it is bad enough for people to have to deal with the reality of their #Disabilities without the government making things more difficult.
And remember that elections matter. /end
In case this was unclear... in the last 10 years, the largest annual number of cases at the state agency level was 1,926,398 (2010). The smallest number was 1,300,668 (2018). These are the folks who are going to deal with the new "reconsideration" process.
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