It’s an unfortunate truth that applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking years from the initial date of application to final approval. Yet those with aggressive, terminal conditions often simply can’t afford the luxury of waiting unknown months to begin collecting disability payments.
However, a bill recently introduced in the Senate seeks to expedite the approval process for people suffering with a terminal disease. Known as the Expedited Disability Insurance Payments for Terminally Ill Individuals Act of 2013, the bill would effectively eliminate the mandatory five month waiting period for terminally ill people applying for disability benefits. Patients are defined as terminally ill if they have been diagnosed with a medical condition resulting in a life expectancy of six months or less, like chronic heart failure and certain forms of cancer.
Under the bill’s provisions, terminally ill persons would receive 50 percent of monthly benefits within the first month, 75 percent of monthly benefits during the second, and 100 percent of monthly benefits during the next three to twelve months. Payments would then vary subsequently if such patients live beyond one year from the date that they initially begin receiving disability payments.
It’s still uncertain whether the bill will receive approval and be signed into law. But it is a step in the right direction towards getting terminally ill patients the benefits they need in a timely fashion.