The House protest resolution passed yesterday, but in the final few days of Obama's presidency, the SSA pressed through the final regulations. As things now stand, if you get any assistance if filling out forms or allowing another person to manage benefits along with you (perhaps a spouse or lawyer), The Justice Department will be notified and you will become a federal felon for possessing or seeking to purchase most firearms.
They did set up an appeal process, but you now have a whole new layer of bureaucracy to fight, and this becomes a denial of constitutional rights without ever having a single day in court or ever having a doctor diagnose a mental illness, much less a significant danger of harming anyone.
You will however; become far more vulnerable to crime because your potential assailant will have many advantages over you, your family, and your possessions.
This agency regulation can be halted immediately by President Trump. But there has not been much knowledge or discussion of this failure of due process. It's up to all of us to communicate with clarity and ernest passion about the importance of due process.
Here is Congressman Murphy's newsletter column on the matter, and the efforts he's making to end this policy immediately.
Standing With Disability Advocates to Protect Human Rights
by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa), and staff
This week the House voted on H.J. Res. 40 to repeal an agency rule submitted in the final hours of 2016 targeting Social Security beneficiaries. Specifically, the rule stated that beneficiaries who need assistance filling out their benefit forms due to disability would be labeled a “mental defective” and have their records sent to federal National Instant Background Check System.
Congressman Murphy, who voted to overturn the rule, weighed in strongly on the inflammatory news coverage that falsely framed it as an attempt lower the bar on mentally ill individuals' access to guns.
“As a psychologist, I understand and am in full support of ensuring that someone who suffers from serious mental illness and has demonstrated risk for violence should not have access to a firearm. However, the resolution that passed yesterday in the House did not address that issue,” said Murphy.
“This agency rule was unethical, shameful and wrong. The House resolution to overturn it had nothing to do with gun rights and everything to do with federal bureaucrats given the authority to render a medical diagnosis and the frightening ability to label individuals living with a disability as mentally defective,” said Murphy.
Organizations from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Disability Rights Network to the American Association of People with Disabilities joined together condemning this harmful government regulation and urged Congress to strip federal bureaucrats of this unethical power. Click here to read the letters urging Congress to repeal the rule targeting the disabled.
“Above all, I am extraordinarily disappointed at the inflammatory and false headlines that ran on nearly every single media outlet after this vote. In near unison voice, this inaccurate and stigmatizing coverage only furthers the lie that there is a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence. The vast majority of mentally ill persons are not violent and, in fact, the mentally ill are eleven times more likely to be a victim of violence than someone who is not mentally ill. And the need for assistance in your financial affairs is not dangerous, violent, unsafe or a so-called ‘mental defective," said Murphy.
Murphy, author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, reiterated his commitment to fighting against stigma for those living with brain illness and educating the public on the fact of psychiatric and neurological disorders.
- The SSA Agency Rule Change -
SSA issues final rules implementing the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007
The SSA has issued final rules to implement provisions of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (NIAA), which requires federal agencies to provide relevant records to the Attorney General for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Under these final rules, the agency will identify, on a prospective basis, individuals who receive disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments under Title XVI of the Act who also meet certain other criteria, including an award of benefits based on a finding that the individual's mental impairment meets or medically equals the requirements of section 12.00 of the Listing of Impairments (listings) and receipt of benefits through a representative payee. The SSA will provide pertinent information about these individuals to the Attorney General on not less than a quarterly basis. As required by the NIAA, at the commencement of the adjudication process the agency also will notify individuals, both orally and in writing, of their possible federal prohibition on possessing or receiving firearms, the consequences of such prohibition, the criminal penalties for violating the Gun Control Act, and the availability of relief from the prohibition on the receipt or possession of firearms imposed by federal law. Finally, the SSA also establishes a program that permits individuals to request relief from the federal firearms prohibitions based on its adjudication. These changes will allow the SSA to fulfill responsibilities that it has under the NIAA. The final rule will be effective on January 18, 2017; however, compliance is not required until December 19, 2017.
Proposed rules adopted with only small changes
The SSA has adopted the proposed rules as final rules, with several changes outlined in the discussion of the public comments and the agency's responses. The final rules allow an individual to apply for relief any time after the SSA's adjudication that he or she meets the requirements of the federal mental health prohibitor has become final. The final rules also set out several circumstances in which the SSA will notify the Attorney General to remove an individual's name from the NICS. The agency also made minor changes to the definition of the term "affected individual" in section 421.105 and to section 421.110(b)(2). The changes in both of these sections are for clarity, and do not substantively change the rules. See 81 Fed. Reg. 91702, December 29, 2016.
Read the agency ruling: