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New legislation could introduce "temporary" SSD benefits

Many Social Security Disability applicants are relieved - and probably a little exhausted - once they have been approved to receive benefits. The process can be grueling, taking an emotional toll on applicants as they gather the requisite documentation and data to prove to the Social Security Administration that their disabilities truly do limit their ability to remain in the workforce. However, even after this complex and exhaustive process is complete, many Los Angeles residents who receive SSD benefits long to someday return to the workforce if they recover or learn to cope with their disabilities. According to a recent article, proposed federal legislation may help.

According to the article, matching legislative proposals have been submitted in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. The proposals, which are commonly known as the Social Security Disability Insurance Return to Work Act, aim to specifically help those SSD benefits recipients who may be approved for benefits, but who may also have a path toward recovering or adjusting to their disabilities. The gist of the proposal is a new category of SSD benefits: temporary benefits.

If this legislation is implemented, those who are awarded temporary benefits would be able to return to the workforce without the threat of immediately losing SSD benefits. Once these individuals are earning income that exceeds the threshold for substantial gainful activity, the benefits would only be reduced at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar.

The current discussion revolving around Social Security Disability mostly centers on the fact that changes need to be made to the program to make it sustainable in the long term. The federal legislation that has been introduced aims to further that goal by reserving the bulk of available SSD benefits funds for those who will truly never be able to return to the workforce.

Source: The Daily Signal, "Finally, a Proposal to Help Disability Beneficiaries Return to Work," Romina Boccia, Aug. 3, 2016

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