Social Security disability is a program established by federal law. Members of the House of Representatives, senators, and the president of the United States may work to change laws. Accordingly, it is important for everyone who is receiving Social Security disability to:
- Be aware of who is running for office and their position on matters that could impact Social Security disability eligibility or payments.
- Understand how the process works and what could happen to your benefits.
- Register to vote so you can protect your rights.
While Social Security disability was not a central issue in the 2016 election, it has been an important issue in previous years.
A Look Back to 2012
During the 2012 election cycle, some candidates directed their focus on individuals applying for or receiving Social Security disability benefits. Some of the issues that were discussed including:
- Changing how the cost of living adjustment (COLA) is calculated
- Increasing Medicare premiums
- Changing age categories for medical-vocational rules
- Revising the eligibility requirements
The news media published stories which added to the discussion by questioning the viability of the Social Security disability program and suggesting that Social Security disability is a form of unemployment. Attorneys tried to correct these misrepresentations.
What Can You Do?
Individuals with disabilities are typically not seen as an important voting bloc. However, there are millions of individuals who receive some form of disability benefits from Social Security, and countless other family members in households where disability benefits are received. If all of these individuals, their family members, and friends were to register and vote, it could have a large impact on outcomes in many races.
Accordingly, while the 2016 election may be over, it is never too late to register to vote. If you live in Texas, you can be ready for the next election cycle by requesting an online Voter Registration Application from the Secretary of State.
Before you vote, be sure to research the candidates and find out their positions on issues affecting people with disabilities. Please take the time to become informed; it could be your benefits at stake.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.