Workers with disabilities rely on Social Security as a financial safety net for meeting their needs. But, there may be changes on the horizon which may make Social Security Disability Insurance eligibility more difficult.

An executive order now gives the president the power of hiring SSDI administrative law judges and other federal ALJs outside federal civil service rules. The Court found that the federal government used a hiring process that was unconstitutional because ALJs must be appointed by the president, federal department heads or the courts.

The Social Security Administration also issued regulations governing claim representatives who help claimants with the Social Security disability application process. After a worker with private group disability coverage files for these benefits, the group may employ a claim representative to apply for SSDI benefits. Normally, the private group plan deducts the SSDI benefit from the amount the private plan pays the worker each month.

The new regulations, according to an industry spokesperson, could limit a plan representative’s ability to advise applicants about medical treatment. If the provider gives opinion evidence, representatives must disclose that they suggested that the claimant obtain treatment.

SSDI pays on average, $1,200 each month to approximately 8.7 million disabled workers. An average monthly benefit of $366 is paid to the families of 1.6 million children of workers collecting SSDI benefits. If the worker qualifies for SSDI, they may apply for Medicare benefits within two years of eligibility.

An attorney can help obtain and keep SSDI. They can help assure that these changes will not stop a disabled worker from exercising their rights.