Social Security is under attack again. As usual, it’s a sneak attack to choke off benefits through a new rule.


Young folks, parents of small children, those reaching empty nest years, people under 65, and especially retired people—all of us treasure this citizen-funded safety net. Not just as retirees: Social Security also protects us if we are disabled and can’t work, or when a spouse or parent dies.

Sirens should be blaring, because behind the scenes, the Trump administration last month published a new rule to squeeze out applicants not for retirement income, but for Social Security Disability Insurance. The rule on “Frequency and Notice of Continuing Disability Reviews” sets up a major roadblock over a problem that doesn’t exist.

The proposed rule could turn off funds to hundreds of thousands of people already receiving disability by shifting them into a new category that would force them to prove they’re still disabled every two years.

Anyone who’s applied for disability insurance knows the process is daunting to start with and generally requires an appeal. Many disabled people have to hire a lawyer just to get the benefits they deserve.

As a city commissioner, about to become mayor once again in January, I work every day with civic leaders, educators, union members, and members of Manhattan’s military community. We all know we must prioritize spending that provides life-improving services to the greatest number of people.

By far, Social Security has been the public’s popular and trusted program since it was founded in 1935, uniting people across income levels and political, racial, and religious divides. Only the super-wealthy want to choke it. And just to put more taxpayer money in their pockets.

What we need is public outcry, because the Trump administration is again showing it doesn’t truly value the mutual support the rest of us rely upon.

You can register your opposition on the Federal website, search for SSA-2018-0026, but note that the public comment period ends Jan. 31, 2020. Please, call your Senators and House members to demand that these proposed cuts be taken off the table.

We’ll all be better off.

—Usha Reddi is a former public school teacher, education union organizer, candidate for State School Board, and has been elected to serve two terms on Manhattan’s City Commission. She is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the 2020 Kansas race.

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