Washington News Bureau

Lawmakers working on legislation that would allow Social Security recipients to work more

WASHINGTON, DC — Millions of Americans rely on Social Security disability benefits. Many of them say they also want to work but are afraid of rules that put those benefits at risk if they get a job.

Channel 2 Washington Bureau reporter Samantha Manning has learned that lawmakers are working on ways to change those restrictions.

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“We hear this. There are people that want to work but what if they go to work? What if they end of losing their benefits?,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said.

Rules about how much recipients can keep some people from working.

Another big concern is getting hit with an overpayment notice. That’s when the government mistakenly overpays beneficiaries and then demands the money back.

Channel 2 Action News told you how our company-wide investigation in partnership with KFF Health News exposed billions of dollars in Social Security overpayments.

A US government accountability office director pointed to a 28,000 overpayment notice a recipient was told they had to pay back.

“How do they fight back in an instance like that?” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), said. “It is a very complicated process.”

“There’s a waiver process that people engage in with the agency,” Erin Godtland with the U.S. Government Accountability Office said.


There are bills in Congress aimed at helping fix the system.

One measure raises the limit on how much money people with Social Security disability benefits can save without losing their benefits.

Last year, we told you about Emily Demko who wants to sell her artwork.

Manning spoke with her mother, Margaret Demko, about how Emily is severely limited because current rules prevent her from having more than $2,000 in savings.

“Once you hit $2,000.01, then she automatically loses eligibility for Social Security. It’s completely outdated,” Margaret Demko said.

Another bill in Congress aims to make sure people with a disability they developed before age 22 won’t be stripped of benefits because they’re working.

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