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Capitol Correspondence - 06.27.23

Bipartisan Work Without Worry Act Introduced to Support Americans with Disabilities

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In a step towards empowering Americans with disabilities to work without fear of losing Social Security benefits, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced the Work Without Worry Act, which is endorsed by ANCOR. This bipartisan legislation aims to remove the disincentive for individuals with disabilities to pursue employment by ensuring that their Social Security benefits are not jeopardized.

Under the current law, adults with severe medical conditions that began before age 22 may qualify for a Social Security benefit known as the Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefit. These benefits are based on the Social Security earnings of their parents, similar to benefits received by children under 18. However, concerns arise among these young adults that if they attempt to work, they could lose future DAC benefits, which often exceed any benefits they might qualify for on their own. This fear hampers their ability to explore employment opportunities as they transition into adult life.

The Work Without Worry Act addresses this issue by promoting financial security for individuals with disabilities. The legislation ensures that any earnings from work, regardless of the amount, will not hinder an individual’s eligibility to receive a Social Security DAC benefit based on their parent’s work history. This change applies uniformly to all individuals with severe medical conditions that began before age 22, regardless of when their parents claim Social Security benefits. Importantly, this adjustment is projected to positively impact the lives of nearly 6,000 individuals with disabilities over the next decade, with no significant effect on the Social Security Trust Funds.

This bill stands as a testament to bipartisan collaboration, with Senators Ted Budd (R-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed J. Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joining as additional co-sponsors.