Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced his Immediate Access for the Terminally Ill Act today.  The bill would allow terminally ill patients with certain diagnoses with limited life expectancies to choose to forego the current five-month waiting period and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits immediately.

Of the bill Sen. Lee said, “Social Security Disability Insurance provides a financial safety net for disabled workers but requires a five-month waiting period prior to receipt of benefits. Unfortunately, for some Americans who suffer from illnesses that are clearly disabling long-term, have short life expectancies, and have no known cure, five months is simply too long. If passed, my bill could put SSDI benefits into patients’ hands sooner, relieving some of the stress associated with end-of-life care.

Stan Lockhart, a Utah advocate for those with rare diseases who lost his wife, former Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, Becky Lockhart, to Jakob-Creutzfeldt Disease, said of the bill, “In the blink of an eye, a rare disease can flip a family’s life upside down. I have seen firsthand the pain and difficulty rare diseases can inflict. Waiting periods and bureaucratic red tape can make the most stressful moments of a family’s life even worse. Senator Lee’s Immediate Access for the Terminally Ill Act, gives families the option to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits when they need them, and unlike far too much lawmaking in this space, it puts families in control. The bill doesn’t prioritize one disease over others; it provides fair relief to patients with rare diseases while protecting taxpayer resources. I endorse this bill wholeheartedly.”

For a one-pager on the bill, click HERE.

For full text of the bill, click HERE.

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