Louis Meyers, M.D.

Louis Meyers for State Senate

Policy Statements on Social Services

My thanks to Trudy Lyon-Hart, the state Director of Disability Determination Services, for meeting with me in Waterbury. Both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are federally funded programs, but initial eligibility determinations are completed at the state level through Ms. Lyon-Hart's office. Approximately 40% of applicants are initially granted eligibility, while the remaining 60% have to go through a further review process. Once a person is granted SSI they can apply for medicaid. Re-evaluations for those on SSI are done every three years and approximately 80% of clients retain their SSI.

What concerns me when I am taking care of patients in Rutland is the large number of patients I see who are still young - in their 20's, 30's, and 40's - and who have been receiving disability payments for years for vaguely defined conditions. Some cannot remember what caused them to go on disability. Nearly all of them also receive medicaid.

In this period when our medicaid expenditures are soaring and busting the state budget, we need to look at every opportunity to help people return to the workforce and come off the medicaid rolls. We need to do that not only for economic reasons, but also because it is tragic to see young people permanently sidelined from being productive members of their communities.

While I would like to ultimately see us reduce the size of the state government, in this instance I am proposing the formation of a state disability program which would provide short-term disability for the 60% of applicant who do not initially get approved for long-term disability. This would provide a short-term financial bridge for people whose disabilities are generally felt to be less extreme. In return, we can then require that in order to receive these benefits that they will participate fully in vocational rehabilitation programs tailored to their specific illnesses or injuries.

It is time that we ask all Vermonters to begin fighting to put Vermont back on its feet again. Every Vermonter - even those who are disabled - can contribute in this struggle.

Other Policy Statements

Save Vermonters Money

Criminal Justice



Public Safety




Social Services