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Tax Cut and Jobs Act Threatens Disability Benefits in Boston

The Republican Party made it a major priority to pass the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” before the end of 2017 to show a legislative win for the GOP and President Donald John Trump.  For better or worse, they have accomplished this goal, but it looks like one of the consequences to this bill, aside from ending Obamacare as Mr. Trump acknowledged, is it will also likely result in large cuts to other public benefits such as Social Security disability benefits including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, as well as major cuts to Medicaid.

SSDI lawyerWhile many many do not realize this, Medicaid, is a major benefit to those on Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, because under the complex web of federal regulations such as Section 1902 of 42 USC 1396a, states are allowed to give Medicaid benefits to anyone who was qualified for SSDI as long as they have been receiving the benefits for more than one year.  Most states have decided they do not even want to handle Medicaid on their own, so they have delegated the  Medicaid signup process to the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), which is the federal agency that runs the SSI and SSDI programs, as well as the Old Age and Retirement benefits program with which most Americans are more familiar.  This is the program that provides money for any working American when they reach the age of federal retirement. This age goes up from time to time as a way to save money, but eventually you will age into the system if you live long enough.  It is also possible to get these benefits earlier if you give up some of the total benefits. As our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance benefits lawyers can explain, while SSDI can provide a claimant with around $1127 in benefits each month, plus a retroactive benefits award dating back to the onset of disability, as the average wait to get benefits is around two years, there is no medical benefits component associated with SSDI.  In order to get medical benefits to treat and manage the medical conditions causing the disability rating, many claimants rely on Medicaid. Without this, these disabled Americans who could no longer work and are not on a spouse’s family insurance plan from an employer, would not be able to afford much needed medical treatment. This is where Medicaid comes in.  If a claimant is on SSDI and Medicaid and reaches the age of retirement, their disability benefit is terminated as are Medicaid benefits and they will begin receiving Old Age and Retirement benefits instead.  Once the claimant is old enough to get Old Age and Retirement benefits, they should also be eligible for Medicare benefits and the transition should be seamless. However, in practice, when dealing with SSA, things do not always go as planned and you may need to speak with an experienced Boston disability lawyer at that time as well.

According to a recent news article The Mighty, many are concerned that this new tax cut bill, now passed into law, will cause both SSDI and Medicaid programs and their beneficiaries to suffer as a means of offsetting the roughly $1.5 trillion increase in the national debt this tax bill is expected to cause based upon non-partisan estimated. There is also a belief by some that the tax bill will cause growth and this will cut the $1.5 trillion debt by as much as $500 billion, but the math would require a lot more cuts and that is what the GOP has pledged to do starting with what they call entitlements programs.

There is a major misconception about the SSDI program when calling it an entitlements program. Those who qualify for SSDI benefits must have worked enough years to have paid into the system.  Every paycheck means money is taken out to pay into the system, and when and if you become disabled, you are simply getting some of that money back. If you have not worked enough prior to becoming disabled, you will not qualify and there is no such thing as a free ride when dealing with SSDI benefits.

While many are happy with the proposed tax cuts, they will not actually be seen until 2019, but the benefits cuts may start much sooner.  It will still be some time before the full impact of the bill is felt, but when that happens, it is believed by many that the tens of millions of disabled Americans and those who otherwise depend on Medicaid will be facing very hard times.

The best thing a claimant can do is speak with an experienced Boston SSDI attorney as quickly as possible to see if there is any way to get though the application process in a smoother manner.  The system is set up in a way that very much puts those without an experienced attorney at a disadvantage . There is also no reason not to have an attorney since there is no legal fee for the consultation, and if attorney agrees to take the case, there is no cost to the claimant unless they are successful in begin awarded both retroactive benefits and ongoing disability benefits. The reason it is so important to act quickly is because, as we have seen, it is much harder to take benefits away from those who are already receiving them than to deny applicants in the future. This is not to say it can’t or won’t happen, but anything that can be done should be done to improve the chances of a successful outcome.

Some of the programs specifically in the cross-hairs are those that are designed to aid individuals with intellectual disabilities according to the author of this article. This is a particular problem since many of these individuals are able to work with proper treatment and resources such as vocational training programs.

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:

#TaxCutsandJobsAct This hashtag has it wrong…,December 23, 2017, The Mighty

More Blog Entries:

SSDI Appeal Results in Affirmation of Denial, Feb. 15, 2017, Boston SSDI Attorney Blog