David Green, Steve Inskeep, President Trump discussed on Morning Edition


David green I'm Steve Inskeep what does the president want to do to disability benefits in America the administration budget proposes changes in requirements to go on disability this affects a lot of people across the country so let's check the facts and the implications of something we heard on this program this week White House budget director Russell vote said there is a chance to save money on disability there's about seven billion dollars in improper payments in the program so we obviously want to read those out but in general we want to get people back to work in labor force right now the inability to speak English is a qualifying factor that allow you to get disability we think that's not how the program is meant to work and so that's an example of one of the reforms that we have within the disability program so much to dig into their an NPR Selena Simmons stuff and is in our studios to help us do that good morning my name first seven billion dollars in improper payments is that much money available to be saved well I asked on the for the source of that figure and they sent me a report that shows the seven billion dollars in improper payments across disability programs in fiscal year twenty eighteen but here is an important point that is out of hundreds of billions in payments to beneficiaries OMB puts the rate of improper payments at about four percent other estimates say it's closer to one percent that is decimal dust according to a source I talk to about this and another important point vote says route out but most of these improper payments are because of inefficiencies or administrative issues not because of fraud people trying to game the system in some way okay first decimal dust as of yet is I'm gonna say from very much I appreciate that second he said the thing about speaking English that if you don't speak English well you can get disability and you didn't see the president doesn't seem to like that is that correct kind of you cannot get disability benefits just because you don't speak English you have to first have a serious medical condition that prevents you from working if you do language skills might be considered along with other things it's like agent education level the thinking is say you have a physical conditioning can to manual label labor for instance but you could work in a desk job you don't have the education or work is going to language skills to do that all of that might be taken into consideration although for talking about language it sounds like a measure here to target immigrants at some but it sounds like that's not necessarily what's going on here this is not is not just about immigrants claiming disability right it's part of this really complex grade of considerations and the trump administration tells me it's close to final finalizing a new regulation to remove that consideration out of the grid and some experts I talked to said that that process does need to be modernized but English language consideration would not be the place that would start it's a pretty small piece of the pie okay Russell vote also said that the administration wants to ask people much more often if they really are qualified for disability let's hear that we want to have ongoing disability reviews instead of having a root disability review every seven years we want you to have it every two or three years what's the story there okay part of what he's saying is not quite right to seven years is the very outer limit between what are called continuing disability reviews this is for people who have really serious conditions like an intellectual disability down syndrome might be an example there is a recent proposal from the trump administration on this but it would not change reviews from seven years to two years we make some other changes to the frequency of these reviews on these changes aren't final yet the disability advocates have been sounding the alarm and some people told me that the frequency is not the issue it's that there isn't enough staffing or funding for these field offices in order to actually check up on people regardless of the time exactly Selena thanks so much for coming by thank you NPR's.

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