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Changes proposed to Social Security Disability Insurance program



The Social Security Disability Insurance Return to Work Act (H.R. 6428) represents a significant shift in how the Social Security Administration (SSA) manages disability benefits, aiming to refine the system for both beneficiaries and the economy.

Key Features of the Bill

The bill, introduced by Congressman Hill, requires the SSA to create new disability classifications to assess the likelihood of medical improvement in SSDI beneficiaries. This assessment would determine whether beneficiaries continue to need SSDI support. Beneficiaries with a potential for medical improvement would undergo periodic reviews to evaluate their ongoing eligibility for benefits.

Another critical aspect of the bill is the promotion of the Ticket to Work Program. The SSA commissioner would be mandated to inform SSDI beneficiaries about this program when they first receive benefits and then every six months. The Ticket to Work Program offers beneficiaries the opportunity to return to work while still receiving support.

Furthermore, the bill proposes an amendment to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). This federal tax credit, which is currently available to employers for hiring from certain target groups, would be expanded to include qualified SSDI beneficiaries. This change aims to encourage more employers to hire individuals receiving SSDI, supporting their reintegration into the workforce.

Congressman Hill’s Advocacy and Context

Congressman Hill, since his entry into Congress, has been a vocal supporter of strengthening the SSDI. “Since entering Congress, I have been a strong advocate for strengthening SSDI to keep it financially secure for those who need the benefits and to incentivize those who don’t to return to work. Every American and Arkansan has the capacity to productively contribute to their community and support our economy. My bill jumpstarts that by encouraging capable beneficiaries to regain their independence,” Hill said.

This is not the first time Hill has pushed for such legislation. In fact, this is the fifth attempt to pass this bill since 2016, though previous iterations have not gained approval in Congress.

The SSDI program, crucial to many Americans, has seen substantial growth since 1970. In Arkansas alone, 140,000 people benefit from the program. Nationally, the program has expanded from $3 billion to $146 billion in expenditures, with the number of beneficiaries rising from 2.7 million to nearly 9 million. This bill represents an effort to address these expanding demands while encouraging economic participation among those who are able.

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