A new bill was recently introduced in the Senate that may expedite benefits to individuals who have a terminal disease.
The bill, known as the "Expedited Disability Insurance Payments for Terminally Ill Individuals Act of 2013," was recently introduced by three U.S. Senators: John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Enzi (R-WY, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The bill essentially eliminates the mandatory 5 month waiting period for terminally ill patients applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, benefits. (Terminally ill persons are defined as those who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that results in a life expectancy of 6 months or less.)
The language of the bill stipulates that qualified individuals will receive:
Individuals, however, who do live more than 1 year and continue to apply for benefits thereafter will continue to receive the regular monthly payments, however a share of the total benefits received during the 5 month waiting period will be deducted from the recipients monthly payments. Those who live for three years and continue to seek benefits will receive 95 percent of the regular monthly amount.
Sponsors of the bill indicate that it's not only vital to expedite payments but ensure the integrity of the system. As a result, the bill language mandates that at least two separate doctors unrelated to the same physician group provide terminally ill diagnoses in order to prevent the possibility of abuse.
"Our bill would provide a solution for people facing these difficult circumstances while helping prevent possible fraud and abuse," Enzi said in a recent statement.
Monetary relief for terminally ill patients
The bill is a step in the right direction for those desperately needing assistance. Those that have paid into the system via payroll taxes as a sort of quasi insurance plan deserve to receive disability benefits if time is of the essence.
According to co-sponsor Barrasso, "When Americans are facing end of life decisions, Washington's red tape should be the last thing on their minds."
It remains to be seen whether the bill will pass. It still needs to muster approval from representatives in the House as well as the signature of the President.