What They’re Saying about House Action to Protect Rights of All Social Security Beneficiaries

February 3, 2017 — Blog   

Yesterday, the House voted on a bipartisan basis to pass H.J. Res. 40, a resolution that would protect the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. This resolution stops a rule that doesn’t provide adequate due process, enforces the harmful stereotype that the mentally ill are inherently violent, and discourages individuals with disabilities from pursuing the benefits they deserve. This resolution aims to stop the SSA from discriminating against citizens who need help managing their benefits.

More than 20 organizations, coalitions, and an independent federal agency have voiced their support for H.J. Res. 40, saying:

American Civil Liberties Union

“Regulation of firearms and individual gun ownership or use must be consistent with civil liberties principles, such as due process, equal protection, freedom from unlawful searches, and privacy. All individuals have the right to be judged on the basis of their individual capabilities, not the characteristics and capabilities that are sometimes attributed (often mistakenly) to any group or class to which they belong. A disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic per se denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership.”

“[SSA’s] rule includes no meaningful due process protections prior to the SSA’s transmittal of names to the NICS database.” 

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

“There is no causal connection between the inability to manage money and the ability to safely and responsibly own, possess or use a firearm. This arbitrary linkage not only unnecessarily and unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right, it increases the stigma for those who, due to their disabilities, may need a representative payee.”

“In this particular case, the potential for real harm to the constitutional rights of people with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities is grave as is the potential to undermine the essential mission of an agency that millions of people with and without disabilities rely upon to meet their basic needs.”

National Council on Disability

“It is critically important that any restriction on gun possession or ownership on this basis is imposed only after the individual has been afforded due process and given an opportunity to respond to allegations that they are not able to safely possess or own a firearm due to his or her disability. NCD believes that SSA’s final rule falls far short of meeting these criteria.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness

“[W]e are gravely concerned that [SSA’s] rule, as adopted, perpetuates unfounded stereotypes about people with mental illness and other mental disabilities that have no basis in fact. Moreover, we believe that the rule may have unintended negative consequences, including deterring individuals from seeking or receiving help when they need it.”

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

“SSA lacks the expertise to make the determinations about safety that it would be called upon to make as part of the relief process established by the rule.”

National Rifle Association

“This measure is a joint resolution to disapprove, under the Congressional Review Act, a Social Security Administration (SSA) rule that would result in hundreds of thousands or law-abiding Americans permanently losing their Second Amendment right.”

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force

“There is an absence of any data suggesting that there is any connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence.”

“The current public dialogue is replete with inaccurate stereotyping of people with mental disabilities as violent and dangerous, and there is a real concern that the kind of policy change encompassed by this rule will reinforce those unfounded assumptions.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about H.J. Res. 40.

CLICK HERE or view below a full list of letters of support for H.J. Res. 40.

Letter of Support from ADAPT
Letter of Support from the American Association of People with Disabilities
Letter of Support from the American Civil Liberties Union
Letter of Support from The Arc of the United States
Letter of Support from the Association of Mature American Citizens
Letter of Support from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Letter of Support from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Letter of Support from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force
Letter of Support from the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Letter of Support from the Disability Law Center of Alaska
Letter of Support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness
Letter of Support from the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors
Letter of Support from the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy
Letter of Support from the National Association for Rural Mental Health
Letter of Support from the National Council on Disability
Letter of Support from the National Council of Independent Living
Letter of Support from the National Coalition of Mental Health Recovery
Letter of Support from the National Disability Leadership Alliance
Letter of Support from the National Disability Rights Network
Letter of Support from the National Rifle Association
Letter of Support from the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services
Letter of Support from Safari Club International

SUBCOMMITTEE: Social Security