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Congress Rolls Back Order Preventing People on Disability from Getting Guns

Over the past several months, we have been hearing a lot about an executive order signed by former president Barack Obama that allowed the FBI’s Brady background check system from having access to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) roles.   The theory behind this executive order was that too many people with mental health issues were being allowed to purchase guns, and some of these people were using these guns in active shooter situations where innocent people were being killed.

pillUnder the executive order, if a person is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for a mental health condition, as many people are, the background check system will be made aware of it and can deny the potential gun buyer the right to purchase the firearm on the application.  This was largely supported by Democrats, who are in favor of gun control measures, and opposed by GOP members, who typically favor not placing many or even any limits on the right to purchase firearms.To make matters more complex, various disability rights groups were opposed to the measure, because it was yet another way to single out the disabled, especially those with a mental illness, and they felt these Americans were already stigmatized enough.  However, these groups also made it clear they are not opposed to gun control for the most part and recognize that something must be done.

However, as discussed in a recent news article from New York Magazine, GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives have already voted to overturn the law and now it is expected to go the Senate. There is no resistance in the Senate because the Republicans only need a simple majority with they have.  President Trump has said he will sign it since the National Rifle Association (NRA) supposedly worked with his administration during the campaign to get this accomplished.

Regardless of where you fall on the gun control issue, as our Boston disability benefits attorneys can explain, the vast majority of those who are on Social Security Disability Insurance benefits where formerly hardworking Americans who can no longer work as a result of a mental health issue.  They are not criminally dangerous individuals.  Another important point to make is that there should not be any stigma associated with getting disability benefits for having a mental illness.  While some clients are hesitant to discuss the fact that they have a mental illness (more so with male clients), there is nothing to be ashamed of, and your experienced disability attorney is accustomed to helping people in your situation.

Another important point to keep in mind is that it is often difficult to qualify for mental health benefits with only a single health issue.  Many cases require a finding of a set of conditions, that when taken as a whole, make it virtually impossible for a person to work, even with accommodations as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  We will often have mental health conditions and physical conditions on a single application.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

House GOP Blocks Measure to Prevent Mentally Ill People From Getting Firearms, February 2, 2017, By Jen Kirby, New York Magazine

More Bog Entries:

Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 22, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog