WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced a new initiative to support terminally ill patients. Brown’s bill recognizes Arthur Woolweaver, a Cuyahoga Falls resident who passed away from cancer before receiving disability payments. The Arthur Woolweaver Jr. Social Security Improvements for the Terminally Ill Act would eliminate the current five-month waiting period in the Social Security Disability (SSD) program that prevents terminally-ill patients from receiving benefits.
“Patients with terminal illness should not have to shoulder the additional burden of fighting for benefits. Mr. Woolweaver’s situation is unacceptable, but also far too common an occurrence,” Brown said. “This legislation honors Mr. Woolweaver by fixing a system that is failing families in Ohio and across the country.”
Mr. Woolweaver was forced to wait five months before he qualified for disability payments, but passed away before completing the eligibility period. Mr. Woolweaver’s wife is unable to collect the $1,800 monthly benefits her husband would have received for care.
“My husband worked hard all his life, cared for his family, and never received any help from the social security administration,” Janet Woolweaver said. “He, like many other hard working people of America, has been the foundation for industry and commerce yet his country let him down so badly when he needed support the most. This has to change.”
Brown’s legislation would ease the financial burden associated with terminal illness by allowing patients with life expectancies of six months or fewer to begin collecting Social Security Disability benefits at the onset of their diagnosis. Brown first introduced this legislation in September 2007.