Date: September 18, 1996
THE HOUSE PASSES H.R. 4039
SOCIAL SECURITY MISCELLANEOUS
AMENDMENTS ACT OF 1996
On September 17, 1996, the House passed by voice vote H.R . 4039, the Social Security Miscellaneous Amendments Act of 1996. The bill makes several clarifying and correcting amendments to thc Social Security Act. The legislation will be sent next to the Senate for action.
Below arc provision descriptions of the bill as passed by the House.
Clarification of the Effective Date of the Denial of Disability Benefits to Drug Addicts and Alcoholics
- Clarifies that the technical term "final adjudication " used in section 105 of P.L. 104- 12 1, the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996, includes court cases . Therefore, any individual whose claim was not finally adjudicated prior to enactment at an administrative or judicial level would be precluded from receiving disability benefits based on drug addiction andlor alcoholism (DAA). However, appeals pending at either the administrative or judicial level for beneficiaries who received partially favorable awards prior to the enactment date would be considered finally adjudicated . Therefore such beneficiaries would receive benefits based on DAA until 1/1/97.
- Effective as though it had been included in the enactment of section 105 of P.L. 104-121, which was signed into law on March 29, 1996.
- Expands the applicability of the provisions in P.L. 104-121 which require treatment referrals and authorization of a $50 fee for organizations serving as representative payee for beneficiaries who are incapable and have a DAA condition. Under current law. the provisions are limited to applications and reapplications filed after July I, 1996. This amendment extends these provisions to beneficiaries whose applications are adjudicated after enactment of P.L 104-121 (regardless of when filed) and to eurrent beneficiaries who request a new medical determination after enactment of P.L. 104-12 I and prior to July I, 1996.
- Effective as though it had been included in the enactment of section 105 of P.L. 104-121.
Correction of the Effective Date of the RepresentativePayce and Treatment Referrals for Beneficiaries with a DAA Condition
Repeal of Obsolete Reporting Requirements
- Repeals a provision of the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-296), requiring that SSA report to the Committees on activities related to the monitoring and testing of DAA beneficiaries. Thi s is necessitated by a provision of P.L. 104-121 which subsequently eliminated the monitoring and testing requirements.
- Effective upon enactment.
Clarification Regarding Review of Determination s by State Disability Determinations Services
- Clarifies that a State disability determination may not be reviewed by any person, tribunal, or government agency othe r than the Commissioner of Social Security or the judicial court system.
Extension of Disability Insurance Program Demonstration Project Authority
- Extends SSA's demonstration authority, SSA's and HHS' authority to waive compliance with the Social Security disability insurance (OI) and Medicare programs when SSA conducts experiments and demonstrat ion projects to test ways in which to encourage DJ beneficiaries to work expired on June 9.1996.
- Authorizes SSA to permit disability applicants to participate in demonstration projects.
- Effective upon enactment, the provision:
- Reinstates the waiver authority for demonstration projects initiated by SSA before June 10, 1997;
- Requires a report by October 1, 1997.
- Provides for suspension of Social Security benefits of an individual confined throughout a calendar month pursuant to conviction of a criminal offense or a verdict or finding of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) or a finding of incompetence to stand trial in connection with such an offense. Eliminates the OASDI requirement that confinement result from conviction of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year.
- Extends the prisoner reporting provisions of the welfare reform legislation (see Legislative Bulletin 104-30) to the OASDI program :
- Provides for incentive payments for reports of OASDI prisoner beneficiaries
- Prohibits duplicate SSI and OASDI incentive payments for the same beneficiary
- Provides for OASDI incentive payments to be made from trust funds
- Makes SSI studies relating to the incentive provision required by the welfare reform legislation also appli cable to the OASDI program
- Limits the exemption from the Computer Matching and Privacy Prote ction Act (CMPPA) of 1988 that was extended to SSI prisoner matching agreements in the welfare reform bill to the Data Integrity Board (DIB) review process of the CMPPA, but clarifies that the exemption applies to all automated prisoner matching agreements.
- Clarifies the institutions which are eligible for incentive payments by requiring that, for a penal institution to be eligible, a purpose must be to confine individuals following conviction of a criminal offense. For a mental institution to be eligible , a purpose must be to confine. pursuant to a court order, certain individuals found NGR! or incompetent to stand trial in connection with such an offense.
Suspension of Benefits to Prisoners
Income Tax Withholding from Social Security Benefits
- Would correct a technical defect in the provision in P.L. 103-465 that allows Social Secur ity beneficiaries to request that their Social Security benefits be subject to Federal income tax withholding beginning in 1997. The correction provides for a specific reference to section 207 of the Social Security Act (which limits assignment of Social Security benefits). as required by section 207. (Since voluntary withholding of funds from Social Security benefits for income tax purposes would constitute assignment of benefits, section 207 would continue to prohibit SSA from honoring income tax withholding requests unless this correction is made.)