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New rule may stop some disability recipients from owning guns

If a new proposed regulation is enacted as it is currently written, many residents of New Jersey who are receiving Social Security benefits for a mental illness disability may not be able to own a gun if they want to keep receiving benefits.

The new rule is relatively narrow in scope, narrower even than a similar rule used by another government agency that manages an entitlement program. Still, some estimate that tens of thousands of recipients might be affected by this rule.

Basically, the rule would prevent a Newark resident who has filed for disability from owning a gun under certain circumstances. For one, the person must have been diagnosed with a mental illness or impairment. The person also must be receiving disability benefits because of a mental illness. Perhaps most importantly, the person must have a representative payee; that is, the Social Security Administration must have determined that the person cannot manage his or her own finances so as to be able to handle his or her benefits responsibly. This rule would apply to people who are between 18 and 65 years of age.

Gun rights advocates, such as the National Rife Association, oppose this decision. The rule is still being deliberated on, and the public is free to comment in the next two or so months by contacting the Social Security Administration.

No matter how one feels about guns, it is important for New Jersey residents who either are on disability or are contemplating filing for disability to know what their obligations and responsibilities will be. After all, many Newark residents rely on disability payments as an essential source of income.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon, "Obama Admin Works to Keep Guns From Many on Social Security Disability," Stephen Gutowski, May 9, 2016

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