President Biden's Disability Plan for 2022 could mean extra funds to improve SSDI benefits for the 74 million beneficiaries on the verge of bankruptcy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year (2021) on July 26, America marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This ADA law has been protecting people with disabilities against discrimination in all areas of publics life including jobs, schools, transportation, etc. Yet Covid-19 pandemic has impacted lives of millions of people across the world. Many have lost jobs, businesses, daily livelihood, etc, however, the worst impacted have been people who have disabilities. Which is why, President Biden had rolled out a special plan for increase in SSDI and SSI funding to help people with disabilities stand on equal ground with others during this hard time. If fully enacted, it could change the lives of 74 million beneficiaries in year 2022.
President Biden's Disability Plan Proposal
To start with, President Biden's plan for disability includes a major funding boost of upto $1.3 billion or 9.7% in annual SSA funding. This increase would help the social security administration roll out increased monthly income checks amounting to a total of $1.2 trillion in both SSDI and SSI paychecks in 2022.
While the most obvious plan seems the boost in funding, President Biden's SSDI plan also includes improvement in majority unkempt areas such as personnel affects of Covid-19 pandemic, short-term repairs in policies and long-term improvements. Take for example government's famous slogan 'personnel is political' which is also One of UN's SDG Goals slogan for 'reduced inequalities'. Hence, one of the priority areas to improve in administration include wait times, appointment policies, backlogs, community outreach to populations and technology upgrades for better services by the SSA towards the community. For instance, take the case of claimants having to wait long hours on the SSA's 800 number, a backlog of SSDI claimant's open cases waiting review and the closure of many field offices.
Other major improvements in SSDI services proposed in the plan include:
- - Appointing a director of disability within the Domestic Policy Council to ensure smooth operations and integrated approach to serving the community through all of government's disability platforms
- - Providing equivalent support to home and community-based services that enable elderly and disabled people to live at home and avoid risky congregate care in the first place. Biden's administration seek to improve home care programs for disabled which have been greatly pu on the back burner during the worst hit of the Covid-19 pandemic
- - Ensure people with disabilities are included in policy development by creating a senior position in the White House dedicated to disability community engagement and policy coordination
- - Work with Congress to pass legislation ensuring adherence to the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision. The Olmstead decision requires government programs to provide people with disabilities the choice to "live, work, and receive services in integrated settings" appropriate to their needs.
- - Nominate judges who support disability rights and reflect the diversity of the country since many a times disabled people of color and LGBTQ+ people discriminated in disability settings
- - Protect the parental rights of people with disabilities: Many states have laws that allow a parent's disability to be considered in making a determination regarding their fitness to be a parent. Biden's SSDI plan seeks to ensure that child welfare agencies and family courts do not violate the rights of parents with disabilities and that they have appropriate training to fairly assess parental capacity in a non-discriminatory manner
In addition, Biden's SSDI plan for 2022 include efforts to guarantee access to high quality, including affordable healthcare, mental health opportunities and expansion of home and community based services in the long-term through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Lastly, Biden's SSDI improvement plan also include a roll back of possible policies that could potentially undermine the rights of disabled people such as payroll tax deferrals that can directly starve these already hard-pressed but absolutely vital programs. In addition, Biden seeks to begin a serious campaign to update SSDI and SSI's old-school rule of 'unemployment' or 'inability to earn under substantial gainful activity' to be eligible for disability benefits. Instead, allow disabled people to work, earn, and save more ... and marry ... without losing benefits.
Reversing these and many other executive measures that have affected disabled people could be relatively easy, providing a much-needed kickoff for more ambitious efforts to come.
If you need legal help in seeking disability benefits, you can consult our disability attorneys for expert legal advice.