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Disability Benefits Claimants and the Second Amendment

In the past several months, we have heard a lot about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  While most Americans are familiar with the Second Amendment and likely have strong feelings about it on one side of the issue or the other, many may not be aware of how the gun control debate has affected those who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  More specifically, SSDI or SSI beneficiaries who are receiving benefits at least in part because of a mental health condition such as major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or various other mental health conditions are affected.

annual reportsOne of the things President Barack Obama did before leaving office was to enact an order that allowed the federal background Brady check system access to the disability rosters at the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).  Again, we are focusing on claimants who received disability benefits at least in part due to a mental health condition.As our Boston disability benefits attorneys can explain, SSDI benefits can be awarded for a single disabling condition or a set of disabling conditions that, when taken together, will qualify the claimant to receive disability benefits.  While it is possible that a person could qualify for Social Security disability benefits with a single medical condition, unless that single condition is something as severe as kidney failure, it is not likely that the claimant will be approved for benefits on one condition alone.  In many cases, a person will include physical medical conditions along with mental health conditions, and, when taken together, this may allow the claimant to qualify for disability benefits.

While disability advocates were mostly saying that they were not opposed to stronger gun control efforts as a matter of practice, they were against the inclusion of mental health information from Social Security in the Brady check.  The reason for this is because the implication behind doing so is that the claimants who are receiving disability benefits at least in part because of a mental health condition are too dangerous to be trusted with a gun.  This, as seen by disability advocates, is not only a potentially suspect statement, but it is yet another way to stigmatize disabled Americans, and they are against this as a matter of practice.

According to a recent news article from The Hill, there is high likelihood that Congress, with the support of President Donald J. Trump, will work to repeal this order because of the strong desire to push back the majority of the previous administration’s gun control efforts.  Many who oppose the order see it as a means of scapegoating disabled Americans and infringing on their constitutional rights to own a firearm.

The particular rule was made though a process of so-called discretionary rulemaking.  This means that it is not in place unless it formally repealed by a majority vote in Congress like other standing law.  This law can be rescinded through a much less complex process known as disapproval.

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:

Congress should rescind Social Security regulation that violates civil rights of those with disabilities, January 25, 2017, By Samantha Crane, Dara Baldwin, and Josh Blackman, The Hill

More Bog Entries:

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