Social Security defenders on Thursday celebrated news that the Biden White House has withdrawn a regulation pushed by the Trump administration that, if finalized, could have stripped disability insurance benefits from hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people.
One of several attacks on Social Security the Trump administration attempted to complete during its final days in power, the proposed rule would have subjected some disability insurance recipients to more frequent eligibility reviews—a move that would have added another layer of difficulty to an already strenuous process aimed at determining whether beneficiaries still qualify for the program.
“Wonderful news,” tweeted healthcare activist Peter Morley, who specifically thanked advocacy group Social Security Works for its outspoken opposition to the regulation.
After the rule was first published in the Federal Register in November of 2019, Social Security Works executive director Alex Lawson told Common Dreams that the proposal represented “the Trump administration’s most brazen attack on Social Security yet.”
“When Ronald Reagan implemented a similar benefit cut, it ripped away the earned benefits of 200,000 people. Ultimately, Reagan was forced to reverse his attack on Social Security after massive public outcry—but not before people suffered and died,” Lawson said. “Every current and future Social Security beneficiary must band together to defeat this horrific proposal, or else all of our earned benefits will be next.”
On Thursday, Social Security Works applauded all of those who spoke out against the Trump administration’s proposed policy change:
Thank you to the over 135,000 people who submitted comments opposing this horrific policy! https://t.co/9yYUU8bHxc— SocialSecurityWorks (@SSWorks) January 28, 2021
President Joe Biden’s record of pushing for cuts to Social Security was the subject of much progressive criticism during the 2020 presidential campaign, but he vowed during the race to protect the beloved New Deal program and increase its modest monthly payments.
In order to boost the chances of achieving the expansion of Social Security benefits that he promised, progressive advocacy groups are urging Biden to fire Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioner David Black, Trump administration holdovers who worked to advance the former president’s far-reaching assault on the program.
“The only thing that is acceptable at the Social Security Administration is a new commissioner and a new deputy commissioner who believe in the system,” Lawson told Common Dreams last week. “The movement won’t accept anything less.”