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Senate Passes Funding for Mental Illness Research and Services

October 23, 2007

By a vote of 75-19, the Senate on October 23 passed legislation that includes FY 2008 funding for a broad range of labor, health and education programs, including mental illness research and services.  The bill, called the FY 2008 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (S 1710/HR 3403), received 75 votes -- enough to override an expected Presidential veto.  It is expected that this Labor-HHS Appropriations bill could be the first FY 2008 spending bill sent to the President.  However, it must first be reconciled with a separate House version that passed in July.

Amendment Adds Funding to Help Clear Social Security Disability Claim Backlog

The Senate also approved an amendment authored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to add $160 million to the administrative budget of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help reduce the current backlog in adjudicating claims and appeals for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI. Currently, the average waiting time to get a hearing at SSA exceeds 500 days. SSA Field offices are slashing hours all across the country. For many people with severe disabilities (including mental illness), SSI and SSDI benefits are the only means of income and basic support. As a result of this backlog in resolving claims and appeals, many people with disabilities are becoming destitute, declaring bankruptcy, and losing their homes.

Thank you for your advocacy in support of this important legislation!

Click here to view background on FY 2008 funding for mental illness research and services.