The Trump administration is considering a new rule that could dramatically impact eligibility for disability benefits.
While the draft version of the rule hasn’t been publicized, The Huffington Post reports that the rule would re-define full-time work as any job that requires 30 hours of work per week.
Currently, Social Security defines full-time work as a job that requires 40 hours per week. In many cases, this distinction is important because an individual may have an impairment that causes them to miss work one day a week.
Under the current definition, such an impairment would result in a finding of disability. The new regulation would mean that individual could only work four days per week and not be found disabled.
It’s also unclear how such a rule would impact other Social Security regulations.
Currently, disability applicants can work part-time and still be eligible for benefits. This part time work cannot exceed what Social Security calls “substantial gainful activity,” which is currently set at $1,260 per month for non-blind individuals.
If Social Security re-defines full-time work to be any job that only requires 30 hours a week, it could also result in a drastic change to rules about substantial gainful activity and the type of part-time work that applicants and beneficiaries can perform.
There is also the issue of how Social Security could show these full-time jobs only requiring 30 hours of work exist. Already, it’s well-known that the agency uses a grossly outdated government source called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to illustrate job numbers. Without any sort of valid updated job numbers, any finding that a disabled individual can easily find full-time, 30 hour/week work is going to be highly suspect.