WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced the COVID-19 Recovery for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act, comprehensive legislation aimed at removing barriers to accessing Social Security benefits, facilitating enrollment in Medicare and reducing the risks COVID-19 poses to seniors and people with disabilities. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Co-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging and Families, is releasing legislation that contains the health and Social Security-related provisions in the House of Representatives, alongside other Task Force leaders.
Specifically, the COVID-19 Recovery for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act would:
- Require the Social Security Administration to halt unnecessary activities like continuing disability reviews and collection of overpayments for seniors and people with disabilities;
- Remove administrative barriers to accessing disability benefits and health care, and expand eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Open a Medicare Part B Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to easily and quickly enroll more people during the public health emergency;
- Increase funding for the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to educate seniors about coronavirus-related scams; and
- Provide flexibility for the senior food box program to limit the number of times a senior must leave their home in order to access proper nutrition.
“As the country looks to reopen, we must continue to protect older Americans and people with disabilities from the toll COVID-19 has already taken,” said Senator Brown. “This comprehensive legislation will improve access to and strengthen Medicare and Social Security benefits, and remove bureaucratic hoops that prevent these Americans from getting the benefits they’ve earned.”
“More than 105 million Americans, approximately 4 out of 10 adults, are at a greater risk if infected with coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions,” said Senator Casey. “While Congress has taken some action, I urge my colleagues to continue to prioritize the needs of seniors and people with disabilities in future coronavirus legislation.”
“Every American is being impacted in some way by COVID-19, yet seniors and people with disabilities are facing additional, unique challenges caused by this pandemic. This legislation will help ensure that they have access to critical government programs and benefits and help to protect their financial, physical, and emotional health during this crisis,” said Senator Jones.
Read more about the COVID-19 Recovery for Seniors and People with Disabilities Act here.