Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2017

ALS Disability Insurance Access Act
Last summer we covered an important piece of legislation that would have had a life-saving implications for people diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). If passed, the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act would have put an end to the 5-month waiting period ALS patients had to endure before receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The way it works, at the moment, ALS patients who meet the requirements for SSDI must wait five months before they can receive both SSDI and Medicare benefits. Unfortunately, the proposal was never completed, but please do not despair for all is not lost.

A group of lawmakers from both sides of the political landscape have voiced their support for a new bill that addresses the subject. The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2017 was introduced in both houses of Congress, H.R.1171 and S.379 respectively, ALS News Today reports. The proposal has the full support of the ALS Association and if passed, would mean patients could immediately start receiving benefits.

“This legislation is especially important for people with ALS, for whom five months can mean the difference between life and death,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of the ALS Association, in a press release. “Nearly half of those living with ALS will die within 16 months of diagnosis, so it’s critical that they receive the benefits they deserve and have paid for as quickly as possible.”

The bill was introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced the bill in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, a companion bill was introduced by Representative Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.). What’s more, five California Democratic congressmen are co-sponsoring H.R. 1171 and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is co-sponsoring the Senate bill.

“Given the prognosis for those diagnosed with ALS, it defies common sense and decency to require these same individuals to wait for benefits they have paid for and most importantly deserve,” Rep. King said. “I am proud to stand with the ALS community in support of this bipartisan bill.”

At Driscoll Law Corporation we would like to express our full support for the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2017. With any life threatening, incurable disorder, everything that can be done to ensure the best quality of life for ALS patients, should be done. We will continue to follow the progress of this vital legislation.

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