Concerns about Trump’s administration proposal to increase the frequency of eligibility reviews have been raised by community members. Many people in the Deaf community receive Social Security Benefits. People go under review based on the type of label they are given for their “condition”. What Trump is suggesting is adding another category to establish the frequency of “eligibility reviews”.

Most people on disability receive a letter every 18 months or every 3 years. With this new category “likelier than possible, but not as likely as expected” (Huffington post) people would be receiving these letters approximately every 2 years. This means that there would be 2.6 million more reviews, “an 18% increase at an anticipated cost of $1.8 billion – almost wiping out the $2 billion worth of savings on benefits” (Huffington Post

To better understand how this works, reviewing the Social Security Administration (SSA) classifications is important. During the time of eligibility, a person’s disability claim will be classified as either MIE, (Medical Improvement Expected), MIP (Medical Improvement Possible) or MINE (Medical Improvement Not Expected). The classification of your determination will affect how often you get eligibility reviews from the Social Security Administration (SSA). 

“Hearing Loss” automatically falls under MINE only if you do not have a cochlear implant. When one has a cochlear implant then that affects your classification. When a person’s disability case is classified as MINE it means that the person receiving benefits will not improve in the future and are expected to continue to receive their benefits until they reach retirement age. This does not mean they will not be reviewed. 

People that are classified as “MINE” most of the time go through review once every seven years. It is important to note that cooperation at the time of review is critical or benefits can be revoked even though the beneficiary has been classified as MINE.  

Trump’s proposal has nothing to do with the already set criteria to receive benefits and is not intended to make it harder to receive benefits. The proposal will target “older disabled” workers that receive benefits, not because of their disability alone but for other reasons such as the inability to “do better” in a new occupation.  Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are not easy to get and, “Though the approval statistics vary by state, nationwide, about 67% of all disability claims are denied on the first application filed with the Social Security Administration.” (Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney)

Democrats are concerned that this is going to make it even harder for people with disabilities to get benefits. This rule, if passed, would not take effect until some time after the final version is released by the administration. There is a possibility that there will be a lawsuit. The only way that benefits will be affected is if you are deemed able to work. 

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on The Deaf Report under the same author. This article has been placed on Deaf Vee Journal for archiving purposes.