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Johnson and Boustany Introduce Bill to Promote Opportunity for Disability Applicants

April 30, 2015

WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) introduced H.R. 2135, the Promoting Opportunity for Disability Benefit Applicants Act. The bill would authorize the Commissioner of Social Security to provide information on employment support services to individuals who are not awarded disability benefits.

Currently, applicants wait 100 days on average for an initial decision regarding a claim for benefits. Research shows this time out of the workforce makes it that much harder for denied applicants to get back to work.

To help people return to work, the bill authorizes the Commissioner of Social Security to provide denied applicants information on employment support services—both public and private non-profit—so that they may reenter the workforce instead of cycling through the application process. The bill provides information to denied applicants about services that may help them return to work and would not affect any appeal for disability benefits.

Upon introduction, Chairman Johnson said, “We must do a better job of helping those individuals who can and want to work to do so. This bill makes sure Social Security tells these individuals about services that can help them connect to jobs.”

Upon introduction, Chairman Boustany said, “This bill provides access to important employment and work supports for individuals in need so that they can gain the necessary skills and job placement services to reenter the workforce quickly. Helping Americans find and keep good jobs to support themselves and their families is and should be our top priority.”

This bill is supported by the National Council of Disability Determination Directors and Easter Seals.

Other House Ways and Means Committee Members co-sponsoring this legislation include Rep. Black (R-TN), Rep. Reed (R-NY), and Rep. Young (R-IN).