June 29, 2009
Mr. S. Daniel Smith.
Thank you for contacting me with your support for H.R. 2866, the Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act of 2009. It's good to hear from you.
I feel strongly that our nation should continue the tough fight against diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF). It is my hope that we can reduce, if not eliminate, the number of CF cases each year by supporting initiatives that encourage research. As you have stated, as research for treatment continues and improves, more patients with CF are able to live fuller and longer lives.
As you are aware, eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) depends on a person's income and resources. Under SSI, disabled, blind, or aged individuals who have low incomes and limited resources are eligible for benefits regardless of their work histories. Two types of income are considered for purposes of determining SSI eligibility and payment amounts: earned and unearned. Research compensation for participation in a clinical drug studies is considered earned income. H.R. 2866, however, would exempt compensation for clinical trials from being considered income.
I agree with you that we should embrace efforts to empower individuals and encourage them to live independent lives, free from dependency on the federal government. Please be assured that as Congress continues to discuss this important matter, I will keep your thoughts firmly in mind.
Thank you again for contacting me. Should you have an further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.