Two months ago, I launched a grassroots initiative to change the way Social Security Disability benefits are awarded to victims of MS and other chronically disabling illnesses.
My goal is to gather 10,000 signatures within the next year in order to establish credibility at the federal level. I am also in the process of forming a coalition panel of various chronic illness organization leaders, physicians, "celebrities," and patients who have experienced the shortfalls of our nation's social security and disability programs firsthand. Ultimately, this panel will present a petition for "temporary disability" benefits to members of Congress once the 10,000 signature goal has been reached.
During the past several weeks, the new petition has already been signed by more than 1,500 chronic illness patients, physicians, advocacy group members, and other concerned citizens.
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation is running a full page article about this initiative in the next issue of their quarterly magazine, MSFocus. The initiative will also be covered in the summer edition of New Mobility magazine, and in the Accelerated Cure Project's next newsletter.
I am committed to bringing this issue to the forefront of proposed action items within the scope of related efforts by other organizations to revise and expedite approval guidelines and educate SSA field offices on how to better recognize hidden disabilities.
However, streamlining the process for disability benefits approval represents only part of the problem since permanent disability in its current form offers little incentive for patients who are in remission to return to the work force and re-contribute to the ongoing solvency of the system. I am analyzing data provided by the SSA relevant to those on permanent disability who participate in the Ticket to Work Program. If that program, as limited as it may be, shows that there are savings of federal expenditures in benefits payouts, and reduces federally sponsored health care costs, then a strong case can be made that "temporary" disability benefits are not only sorely needed, but result in long-term savings and fiscal responsibility. And that is the focus of my petition effort.
Following is a direct link to the recent story posted by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation:
Also, read over the hundreds of moving comments by those who have voiced their support of this much-needed reform. If you haven’t already signed the petiton, please do so now by clicking on the following link:
In advance, thank you!
Diagnosed with RRMS in 2003 at age 45