The United States government set up disability payments in 1956 for people who are unable to work full time.
A proposed regulation seeks to redefine full-time work as 30 hours per week, as opposed to the usual 40, to determine if someone qualifies as disabled and may receive disability benefits.
A tighter eligibility standard
According to HuffPost, the proposed regulation will bring changes to the current Social Security Disability Insurance program. One disability policy expert states that “shifting the standard from 40 hours to 30 hours would definitely lead to fewer disability benefit awards.”
Although the full draft rule is not finalized or released yet, it is the result of years of work done by the Social Security Administration to update data on the U.S. job and labor market.
Currently, an estimated 13 million Americans receive some form of Supplemental Security Income or SSDI benefits.
Qualifications for assistance
Currently, an applicant may receive assistance if they cannot engage in substantial gainful activity. Currently, this definition includes earning at least $1,260 every month in 2020. After that, the government checks to see if they have a medical condition that would automatically qualify for benefits. If the applicant has severe impairments that are not on the list of qualifying conditions, the government then looks at their age, work history and their ability to work at a sedentary job that would accommodate their disability.
It is the last stage of this process that the rule is proposing to change. Instead of counting work as five eight-hour workdays, full-time work would be some variation of 30 hours a week.