Changes in the Social Security Laws
 by:
Lala Balattan

It is time we educate and update ourselves regarding essential issues of the Social Security Administration. By having enough knowledge of SSA’s vital programs concerning Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance (DI), we would truly understand the workings --- implementations, qualifications, claiming procedures, etc.

And since many policy changes have occurred with regards to the mentioned programs, it is but necessary that we may be aware of such things. Like, what new laws are enacted which covers disability beneficiaries of the DI program? Or if you have a relative which you think may qualify for the SSI/DI, how qualified? Here, we present you with vital facts on the SSI/DI programs’ legislative changes that have occurred for the past, 20 years, between 1984 – 1999.

On the various policy revisions over the period of 1984 – 1999, these are mainly concerned on how to properly identify and analyze the beneficiaries entitled for the said programs.

The Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984 revised the mental impairment listings for disabled workers. It also required that a combined effect of all impairments be taken into consideration when determining eligibility for disability benefits. A “medical improvement standard” was also added for the disability review process stating that an individual’s disability benefits may be terminated with the basis of substantial evidence which shows that impairments have medically improved and the person concerned can already handle salaried work.

Various laws have also been implemented in order to enhance the DI programs like, the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984, which revised the mental impairment listings. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, set criteria that were more restrictive for childhood stability. The Public Law 104-121 eliminated drug and alcohol addiction from the medical listings of disabilities. The Fair Housing Act (FHA), as amended in 1988, makes housing more accessible to the disabled and prohibits discriminations. So as with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Both the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries’ population have experienced marked growth and compositional changes from 1984 – 1999. As such, the revisions and new laws which added up to the total package of these programs have further enhanced and have enabled the government to reach out its services further to its needy citizens. It is but important to be always updated and aware of the programs of the Social Security which concerns every individuals in the country.

Information is already empowerment. For more specific ideas on how the Social Security programs work and for further updates, connect with the official website of the Social Security at www.ssa.gov or go directly to the Social Security Administration’s Information Offices in your state! Don’t waste your time being unaware of opportunities that may entitle you and your family to government services!

About The Author

Lala B. is a 26 year-old Communication Arts graduate, with a major in Journalism. Right after graduating last 1999, she worked for one year as a clerk then became a Research, Publication and Documentation Program Director at a non-government organization, which focuses on the rights, interests and welfare of workers for about four years.

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