(AREA)-- The state Senate this week passed a resolution urging Congress to change Social Security eligibility rules on behalf of the terminally ill. Senate Resolution 134, authored by Senator Mike Green of Mayville, asks Congress to adjust existing rules for the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. If the changes are adopted, terminally ill patients could be considered disabled under SSDI, if physically unable to work, and would not be subject to the standard 5-month waiting period for SSI benefits. The changes would only apply to individuals who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses if the diagnosis includes an estimated life expectancy of 6-months or less.
Green gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Thursday advocating the resolution, saying that it is about government working more efficiently for those legitimately in need of assistance from funds they've essentially been paying into over the years.
Senator Green stated that he introduced the resolution in honor of Tina Moyer, a former Mayville resident. Tina was diagnosed with cancer in late 2011 and passed away 11 weeks later. Under current rules, she wasn't considered disabled and wasn't given proper aid due to a 5-month waiting period. Although Moyer had paid federal income and Social Security taxes her entire adult life, existing rules prevented her from receiving disability benefits or supplemental income benefits that would have helped alleviate the financial burden of mounting medical bills. Sadly, she was approved for SSI benefits, but passed away before the end of the waiting period.
The resolution will now be sent to the president of the U.S. Senate, speaker of the U.S. House, and members of Michigan's congressional delegation.