Summary: H.R.2987 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2987. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (05/11/1983)

Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1983 - Title I: Standards of Disability - Amends title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act to provide that an individual who is receiving disability benefits or child's, widow's, or widower's insurance benefits based on disability may be determined not to be entitled to such benefits on the grounds that the disability involved has ceased, does not exist, or is not disabling only if: (1) there has been significant improvement in the individual's condition so that such individual can perform substantial gainful activity; (2) the individual can perform substantial gainful activity as a result of medical or vocational therapy or technology; (3) the prior disability determination was clearly erroneous or fraudulently obtained; or (4) the individual is currently performing substantial gainful activity.

Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consider the combined effect of all of an individual's impairments in determining whether such individual is unable to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Requires that subjective evidence of pain or other symptoms be considered in determining whether an individual is under a disability. Provides that subjective evidence may lead to a determination of disability even without corroboration by medical findings.

Requires that a determination as to an individual's ability to engage in substantial gainful activity be based on an evaluation of the individual's remaining capacity to meet the demands of competitive work on a sustained basis.

Provides that an individual who is working in a noncompetitve work environment shall not be regarded as demonstrating an ability to engage in substantial gainful activity solely on the basis of such work. Permits such work to be considered as a factor in a determination that an individual is able to engage in substantial gainful activity.

Title II: Disability Determination Process - Requires the Secretary to revise: (1) the criteria under the category "Mental Disorders" in the "Listing of Impairments" in effect under part 404 of title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations which are used to make individualized determinations of disability for purposes of determining eligibility for disability benefits under title II of the Social Security Act; and (2) the methods and procedures for assessing the residual functional capacity of individuals having mental impairments. Requires the Secretary to appoint a panel of outside experts to make recommendations with respect to such revisions.

Prohibits the Social Security Administration from carrying out continuing eligibility reviews with respect to individuals previously determined to be under a disability due to mental impairment until such revisions have been established by final regulation. Makes such prohibition inapplicable in any case involving fraud or where an individual is engaged in substantial gainful activity.

Sets forth requirements for the redetermination of disability determinations made after the enactment of this Act and before the date on which the Secretary's revisions are established by final regulation.

Removes certain time restrictions on the continued payment of disability benefits during the appeal process.

Provides that an initial disability determination by the Secretary or by a State agency which is unfavorable to a disability benefit applicant shall remain pending until after notice and opportunity for review. Requires that such a determination contain a statement of the case which indicates the basis of the disability determination, the right to a review, and the right to submit additional medical evidence before such review. Entitles the applicant or the applicant's spouse, divorced spouse, surviving divorced spouse, surviving spouse, surviving divorced mother, child, or parent to a review of a pending disability determination upon request and upon a showing that his or her rights may be prejudiced by such determination. Sets forth procedural requirements with respect to such a review. Requires the Secretary or the State agency to affirm, modify, or reverse a pending disability determination on the basis of such a review.

Provides that an initial decision by the Secretary as to an individual's eligibility for disability benefits which is based upon an initial disability determination and which is unfavorable to such individual shall contain a statement of the case which indicates the basis of such decision, the individual's right to a hearing, and the individual's right to submit additional medical evidence before or at such hearing.

Requires a State agency or the Secretary, in making a disability determination, to consider all medical and vocational evidence relating to the physical or mental impairments of the individual involved. Requires that a complete medical history of at least the preceding year be made for each disability determination or continuing disability determination. Requires that medical information be obtained from the individual's treating physician.

Requires that assistance be given where necessary to those individuals who have been previously determined to be under a disability based on mental impairment and with respect to whom reviews of continuing eligibility are being carried out.

Requires that hearings with respect to disability determinations be reasonably accessible to the persons requesting them. Directs the Secretary to insure the reimbursement of costs connected to disability determinations for individuals who have presented evidence of financial need.

Provides that a disability determination shall be made only after a qualified physician (or a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist where appropriate) has made the proper medical evaluation.

Requires the Secretary to prescribe standards with respect to consultative examinations which must be obtained for disabilty determinations.

Requires that rates for medical examinations in connection with disability determinations be consistent with the rates for such services under title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act.

Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - Provides for the application of Federal rulemaking and administrative procedure requirements to disability determinations under title II of the Social Security Act.

Amends title VII (Administration) of such Act to specify court orders by a U.S. court of appeals with which the Secretary and the Department of Health and Human Services must comply, unless there is a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Amends title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) of the Social Security Act to eliminate as a condition for the continued payment of benefits to persons in vocational rehabilitation programs that the Commissioner of Social Security determine that the continuation or completion of such program will increase the likelihood that a beneficiary may be permanently removed from benefit eligibility following participation in such a program.

Amends the Social Security Amendments of 1983 to require the Secretary to notify all recipients of title II benefits who may be eligible for supplemental security income benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act of the availability of the SSI program and to encourage such individuals to contact the social security district office. (Under current law, the Secretary is required to give such notification to all elderly title II beneficiaries.) Requires that the Secretary include in such notices that, upon request, assistance will be provided in the completion of claims and to establish benefit eligibility.

Amends title II of the Social Security Act to revise the time periods for trial work which is used as a basis in determining whether an individual's disability has ended.

Establishes in the Department of Health and Human Services an Advisory Council on the Medical Aspects of Disability, which shall evaluate and advise the Secretary on the disability determination process under title II of the Social Security Act. Requires the Council to report to Congress at least biennially on its activities.

Requires the Secretary to establish enough attorney adviser positions in the Department of Health and Human Services to insure adequate opportunity for career advancement for attorneys in the Social Security Administration. Requires that such attorneys be given qualifying experience for appointment to administrative law judge positions. Requires the Secretary to report to specified congressional committees with respect to complying with these requirements.