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Supreme Court decisions that impact disability rights

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Blog, Social Security Disability

The Social Security Disability Insurance program plays a role in providing financial support to individuals facing disabilities.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has made significant decisions that directly influence the rights of those relying on SSDI benefits.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984)

In October 2023, the Social Security Administration collected $143 billion for SSDI benefits, and past Supreme Court cases impacted its distribution. Chevron U.S.A. Inc v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984) established the Chevron deference, a principle that impacts SSDI rights and benefit distribution. This doctrine gives deference to federal agencies’ interpretations of statutes, shaping how the SSA administers and interprets SSDI laws.

Bowen v. City of New York (1986)

The Court’s decision in Bowen v. City of New York reinforced the importance of judicial review in SSDI cases. This ruling highlighted the need for individuals to have access to courts for fair evaluations of their SSDI claims, ensuring a transparent and just process.

Sullivan v. Zebley (1990)

Sullivan v. Zebley marked a turning point in SSDI determinations. The Court ruled that the burden of proof shifts to the government if a claimant presents evidence that their impairment meets or equals a listed impairment. This decision clarified the responsibility of the SSA in thoroughly evaluating claimant cases.

Brissette v. Commissioner of Social Security (2003)

In Brissette v. Commissioner of Social Security, the Supreme Court addressed the definition of disability, emphasizing that individuals seeking SSDI benefits must demonstrate the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable impairment. This decision set a standard for eligibility criteria.

Understanding these decisions helps those navigating the complex world of disability benefits.

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