When you cope with severe medical conditions, as I and millions of Americans do, the person who sits in the Oval Office is more than just a trivial matter — the president’s decisions are a matter of life and death.
They say the personal is political, and that’s never been truer than now, with President Trump and his administration.
As a disability patient advocate, I can read all their policy papers they use to justify their actions, but at the end of the day the best way to understand what Donald Trump thinks about the disability community is to see what he witnessed in his own family.
I trust ALJs to decide which COVID-19 patients will be eligible for Social Security disability income.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration wants to put its thumb on the process through Executive Order 13843, which allows the Social Security Administration to discard the merit system for picking ALJs and instead allows it to choose any attorney with a license to make important disability decisions.
A distinguished group of lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate are pushing back against this power grab by supporting the ALJ Competitive Service Restoration Act; it would preserve due-process protections for the American public by restoring the fair and unbiased administered hiring process for ALJs.
As Congress debates future recovery and stimulus bills, it should recognize that not every COVID-19 patient will be able to return to the workforce. These patients have had to overcome a lack of treatments, ventilators and masks. The least we can do for them is to protect the disability system that we know works.
Morley is a patient advocate based in New York City; he has testified numerous times before congressional committees regarding patient rights and needs.