WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), joined top Democrats responsible for Social Security policy in the House and Senate in calling on the Social Security Administration to withdraw a proposed Trump administration rule that would limit the right of Americans to receive an in-person appeals hearing if their initial application for Social Security benefits is denied. Workers who are eligible to apply for these benefits have contributed to Social Security for years, paying into the program with each paycheck.
“This change would deprive millions of Americans of their constitutional right to due process and result in hearings which are less fair and less efficient. This proposal is harmful and not justified and we request that SSA withdraw this proposed rule,” the members wrote in their letter.
Brown, a Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Social Security Subcommittee, was joined by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson, D-Conn., and House Ways and Means Worker & Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny Davis, D-Ill.
In the letter, the members outlined why video hearings are inferior to in-person hearings. In a video hearing, the ALJ may be limited in their ability to thoroughly evaluate the impact that an individual’s impairments have on their ability to work, and disabled individuals may not be able to fully and effectively present their case. The Social Security Administration has a large backlog of individuals awaiting an appeal hearing, and the delays cause significant harm to individuals who have worked years to earn their Social Security benefits but have suffered a career-ending injury or illness.
The full letter can be found here.