On Nov. 3, 2022, Pandemic Patients joined other disability advocates to request that Congressional leadership ensure full funding for the Social Security Administration (SSA) in FY 2023. Led by the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities‘ Social Security Task Force, the sign-on letter advocates for Congress to satisfy the President’s budget request for the agency. The Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD) is the largest coalition of national organizations working together to advocate for Federal public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration, and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.
The letter points to several justifications for increased SSA funding, including staff shortages, inflation, and year-over-year budget shortfalls, which have hampered the agency’s ability to administer critical safety net benefits. The Social Security Administration plays an important role for long COVID patients who are unable to work due to disabling long-term symptoms. The agency’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs provide critical resources for disabled Americans, with many long COVID patients relying on them for their only source of income after becoming disabled. Unfortunately, Congress has not provided enough funding to keep the agency fully staffed, which has caused unprecedented processing delays for disability benefit applications. Some long COVID patients have been forced to wait several months for the agency to determine their eligibility for disability benefits without having any other source of income. Pandemic Patients supports increased funding for SSA to expedite the agency’s capacity to adjudicate disability benefit applications, thereby increasing the ability of COVID-19 patients and survivors to access critical safety net programs.