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Larson Votes for Legislation to Help ALS Patients Secure Social Security Disability Benefits Quicker

December 8, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) voted for the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019. The bill removes the five month waiting period for ALS patients to apply for benefits. The bill passed the Senate last week and will head to the President’s desk to sign into law. Click here to view Rep. Larson’s remarks.

Remarks as Prepared

“ALS is a devastating and cruel disease.  There is no cure for ALS, and ALS always leads to a premature death. On average, people live only two to five years after getting a diagnosis of ALS.  

“Earlier this year I lost my dear friend and former Chief of Staff Elliot Ginsberg to ALS and previously lost my dear friend Dan Jones.  

“Every year, approximately 5,000 Americans are diagnosed with ALS.  Over time, people with ALS lose their ability to speak, eat, move, and even to breathe. They are unable to work due to their severe disabilities, and they lose their jobs and their employer-based health insurance. 

“Recognizing the devastating nature of ALS, in 2000 Congress passed bipartisan legislation that waived the 24-month waiting period for Medicare for people with ALS. 

“Today we consider the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019.  This bipartisan legislation will end the five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for people with ALS.  

“I thank Representative Seth Moulton who has been a champion on this issue, along with the 305 Members of the House of Representatives who have cosponsored Rep. Moulton’s bill.  I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019. 

“Our actions today will provide people with ALS with quicker access to the Social Security and Medicare benefits they have earned.  I would also like to commend my colleague on the House Ways and Means Committee, Bill Pascrell, for his passionate leadership and untiring advocacy on behalf of those suffering with Huntington’s disease, a terrible disease which affects children as well as adults.   

“Today we are passing this bill for people with ALS. But we know there are many devastating diseases such as Huntington’s and Metastatic Breast Cancer which also deserve the same benefit and have bills in Congress providing just that.  We need a solution for everyone. 

“People with the kinds of severe diseases and disabilities that qualify them for Social Security really need the benefits they have earned, as soon as possible. 

“I hope that in the next Congress we can try to help everyone, by doing as I and others have proposed, to eliminate these waiting periods across the board.”