How Trump Administration Policies and Budget Impact People with Disabilities
Author Lonnie Roach
President Trump once tweeted “No one has done more for people with disabilities than me,” but the federal budget for the 2021 fiscal year he recently unveiled as well as the agenda he and his supporters in Congress are promoting say something different. By cutting funding from agencies and offices that provide services to people with disabilities, the administration undermines healthcare, education, and basic services which enable people with disabilities to live independently.
The President has promised numerous times not to cut Social Security benefits, but his new budget proposes to cut SSDI benefits by reducing retroactive benefits.
Currently a beneficiary can qualify for up to 12 months of back payments once approved. Under the 2021 budget, those benefits would be decreased to no more than six months, denying individuals and families much needed income. In a separate effort to decrease spending, the Social Security Administration has proposed adding a fourth Continuing Disability Review (CDR) category for SSDI recipients, requiring beneficiaries to re-prove their disability every two years. Though Social Security predicts it will save $2.6 billion, the new procedure will cost $1.8 billion to administer and many individuals with a valid disability could lose their benefits. The budget would also slash $8 billion from the SSI program over a ten-year period. Most recipients qualify for SSI because of a disability; this reduction will reduce benefits to families who have more than one member qualifying for SSI.
If you have been denied disability don’t give up! Contact a Disability lawyer at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and get the benefits you deserve.
Almost no one appreciates the benefits of the Affordable Care Act more than a person who has a disability and relies on health care coverage that does not discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
The Trump administration has targeted the Affordable Care Act since the beginning of the President’s term and managed to roll back Medicaid expansion. The 2021 budget would cut Medicaid and ACA funding by $1 trillion over 10 years and end enhanced federal funding for states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA; people who obtained health coverage under the Medicaid expansion, many of them disabled, could lose coverage.
Cutting Medicaid not only threatens a disabled person’s access to healthcare, it also deprives people of at-home services they need to live independently at home and work outside the home.
Disabled people who rely on personal attendants and home nursing could lose access to those services. This seems to conflict with the administration’s goals of getting people who are disabled back to work. The administration claims the current return-to-work program deters disabled people from employment and proposes to establish an “expert panel” to develop new programs to bring the disabled into the workforce, but it fails to describe how this program would work. The President’s federal hiring freeze also hurts the disabled who could be employed in federal jobs and veterans who make up to 40% of federal new hires.
The administration’s proposed 2021 budget is also full of cuts aimed at Protection and Advocacy Systems that provide support and services to people with disabilities.
Also known as P&As, Protection and Advocacy Systems work at the state level as advocates to protect individuals with disabilities. Some of the programs and agencies that will suffer include:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The administration would cut food stamps by raising eligibility requirements and tightening rules. It is estimated that 700,000 people will lose access to the program.
- 15.2% reduction in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which would eliminate grant programs and reduce rental assistance for low-income people, many who are disabled, and increase homelessness and hardship.
- Cut funding to the Office of Disability Employment Policy which manages programs to advance disability employment, and eliminates state grants for employment programs.
- Reduce funding by 50% to Lifespan Respite Care Program which provides assistance to family caregivers of people with disabilities.
- Cut state Protection and Advocacy programs providing legal services to people with disabilities.
Similar budget cuts have appeared in all of President Trump’s previous budget, so this is not the first time disability benefits have been targeted.
Advocates for the disability community are voicing their concerns. “This budget is a non-starter,” said Congressman John Larson, D-Conn., Chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee. “His proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare, food-assistance programs and more will only hurt those who are already struggling,” Larson said. “The president should live up to his promise, instead of breaking it.”
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
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