Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) joined Edward and Susan Young to announce new legislation to eliminate the five-month mandatory waiting period currently required for the terminally ill to receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments. This waiting period means that many terminally ill patients will not receive the benefits they deserve before the end of their life. The Youngs, Dix Hills residents, contacted Rep. Israel after Susan, who was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in October and given a nine-month survival prognosis, must wait five months before she could receive the Social Security Disability benefits she has paid into for more than 30 years.
"Susan Young has paid into Social Security for more than 30 years now, and now that she needs the benefits, she's being told it'll take five months to receive them. This is simply unacceptable, and not the way we should be treating terminally ill patients who are already facing incredible challenges. That's why I'm introducing legislation to eliminate this waiting period for terminal ill patients and allow them to immediately receive the benefits they deserve."
Individuals may currently receive SSDI if they are disabled and unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity and this impairment is expected to last at least 12 consecutive months. They must also be below normal retirement age and have completed a five-month waiting period. This waiting period is meant to ensure that those with a temporary disability or who are expected to recover do not receive benefits.
However, patients like Susan Young who are terminally ill patients and only given months to live are not able to access these needed benefits before they pass away. Rep. Israel's legislation, The Social Security Disability Insurance for the Terminally Act, would eliminate the five-month waiting period for SSDI for those who are given 12 months or less to live.