November 7, 2019
Senator Robert P. Casey
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510
Representative Lloyd Doggett
2307 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20515
Dear Senator Casey and Representative Doggett:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse your bill, the Stop the Wait Act (S. 2496 and H.R. 4386). This important legislation eliminates two provisions that have for many years delayed the start of both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare benefits for disabled individuals.
Under current law, a disabled individual’s benefits do not start immediately. Instead, all disabled individuals must wait fully five months after the onset of that individual’s disability before benefits can begin. Given that many of those who apply for disability have waited for years for a decision on their claim, it is an especially galling hardship that the start of their benefits is delayed by this five-month waiting period.
But that’s not the only waiting period that disabled workers face. After they’ve been awarded benefits and have served the five-month waiting period, they have to wait 24 months—two full years—before their Medicare benefits can start. Since all who qualify for disability benefits have severe health problems, it seems to us that the Medicare waiting period is an especially egregious provision that threatens the health and well-being of all who are affected by it.
When enacted your Stop the Wait Act will gradually eliminate these two waiting periods, making the commencement of benefits contemporaneous with the decision that a person is disabled. The National Committee believes that these changes to Social Security and Medicare are vitally important to disabled individuals and should be enacted as soon as possible.
We look forward to working with you in this endeavor and thank you for your leadership on this important matter.
President and CEO