Tag: Social Security Disability Insurance

Cost-shifting between workers comp and Social Security disability disputed

Cost-shifting between workers comp and Social Security disability disputed

The study, released March 26, is focused on the interaction between SSDI and workers compensation benefits and explores cost-shifting that may occur between the two programs.
“There have been some allegations or thoughts that perhaps workers comp cuts in benefits or the tightening of compensability standards at the state level might induce injured workers to file for SSDI … we found that the majority of states did not decrease benefits with a specific focus on permanent partial disability and permanent total disability,” said Jim Davis, director and actuary for Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI.
Looking at the overall amount that is paid through SSDI is important, according to Emily Spieler, a professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston.
They will apply for Social Security disability, sometimes while they are receiving the partial benefits, but the amount that is paid out by Social Security over a lifetime for someone who has a workplace injury may be far higher than is paid by workers compensation,” said Ms. Spieler.
NCCI saw the biggest change occur in the number of SSDI applications during the 2007-2009 recession.
“The largest increase in SSDI applications was during the great recession and this is common across states … and that is in contrast or versus any kind of activity at the state level,” said Mr. Davis.
The number of Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries rose 58%, and SSDI expenditures grew 138%, to $143 billion from $60 billion, from 2001 to 2015.
“We have two different programs here.
There are still some lingering questions, said Ms. Spieler.
… the second question is to what extent have what they call ‘benefit changes’ had an impact on this cost shift?

Reforms are needed to fix Social Security Disability Insurance backlog
Social Security Disability

Reforms are needed to fix Social Security Disability Insurance backlog

Unfortunately, bureaucracy, mismanagement, and a lack of permanent leadership at the Social Security Administration (SSA) have greatly reduced the program’s effectiveness.
In fiscal year 2012, the average nationwide wait time for a hearing decision was 353 days.
The average worker applying for DI benefits has paid into the program for 22 years.
However, 1.1 million Americans are stuck in this outrageous backlog, with devastating consequences.
The person’s health worsens.
Their financial situation deteriorates as they draw down their savings or turn to family and friends to help pay bills.
This is unacceptable.
Congress has provided the SSA $90 million to address the backlog, most of which will be used to hire much-needed judges and support staff.
However, even with this infusion of funds, the SSA estimates the backlog won’t return to reasonable levels until 2022.
It’s clear money alone won’t fix the problem.

A Terminally Ill Progressive Activist Confronted Jeff Flake About The Tax Bill On A Flight
Social Security Disability

A Terminally Ill Progressive Activist Confronted Jeff Flake About The Tax Bill On A Flight

Is my wife supposed to trust them that they are not gonna implement paygo when it’s the law of the land?” Later in the conversation, Barkan asked why Flake would not withhold his vote for the tax bill unless there was action on a bill providing Dreamers permanent status in the country.
Flake: There’s nothing in the bill that cuts anything.
Now paygo has been triggered several times by the deficit or by tax cuts, but it’s never been implemented.
Flake: Well, I’ve been around Congress ― I voted in favor of paygo.
We’ve got to get better than the 1.8-percent growth we’ve experienced over the last several years.
I’d like to get that by the end of the year, but certainly we’ve got to get to it by March.
Flake: No, no.
Flake: You’re very up, you’re very up on everything.
And for the rest of your life, you will be proud if you vote this bill down.
On your deathbed, I promise you, you will remember voting “no.” If you vote “yes,” you won’t feel better about yourself and your grandchildren won’t be proud.

Donald Trump’s Budget Betrays His Pledge Not To Cut Social Security
Social Security Disability

Donald Trump’s Budget Betrays His Pledge Not To Cut Social Security

Donald Trump’s Budget Betrays His Pledge Not To Cut Social Security.
WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for next year would cut Social Security Disability Insurance, despite Trump’s vaunted campaign promise not to make any changes to Social Security.
“It’s my absolute intention to leave Social Security the way it is,” Trump said during the presidential campaign, a promise he repeated several times.
The budget would make significantly larger cuts to Medicaid, which Trump also promised not to cut at various junctures on the campaign trail.
Mick Mulvaney, the director of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, said that cutting disability insurance doesn’t break Trump’s campaign promise because most people think only of retirement insurance when they think of Social Security.
“If you ask 999 people out of 1,000, [they] would tell you that Social Security disability is not part of Social Security,” Mulvaney said on Monday.
Pressed on how the budget would filter them out, Mulvaney said one method would be to apply greater scrutiny to the administrative law judges who award benefits.
Although they are part of the same social insurance program, Social Security Disability Insurance pays out benefits from a trust fund that is formally independent from the fund used for retirement and survivors benefits.
Since many members of the massive baby boomer generation are becoming disabled before they’re old enough to receive retirement benefits, the disability fund faces more immediate financial challenges than the program as a whole.
Mulvaney has been very open about his desire to get Trump to consider cutting Social Security.

No, Social Security Benefits Aren’t Keeping Americans From Working
Social Security Disability

No, Social Security Benefits Aren’t Keeping Americans From Working

As part of their campaign to cut Social Security’s earned protections, anti-government ideologues often seek out problems which they claim can only be solved by cutting Social Security’s already modest benefits.
One of their favorite mainstays is the claim that Social Security’s protections somehow disincentivize Americans from working, despite the fact that Social Security benefits are earned—through contributions made on income from work.
The CAP brief addresses an often repeated and slanderous myth: that Social Security is responsible for declining labor force participation among working-age American men, who are supposedly choosing to collect extremely modest and difficult-to-obtain disability benefits as an alternative to wage income.
While the number of working-age men in the labor force has indeed declined over the past five decades, Social Security disability insurance and other government disability protections—Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans disability compensation, and workers compensation—have nothing to do with this decline.
It should be no surprise that Social Security’s disability benefits are hardly the incentive to leave the workforce that conservatives make them out to be.
Social Security benefits are extremely modest, particularly in the case of benefits given on the basis of a severe and work-ending disability.
Indeed, many of those whose applications are denied never work again.
It is worth noting that they generally do not propose to raise the minimum wage, create new work opportunities, or solve the real problems facing working Americans.
Instead of targeting Social Security’s vital, earned disability protections under the false pretense of encouraging labor force participation, policymakers should address the real problems facing working-age Americans today.
These issues can, and should, be addressed by policies such as raising the minimum wage and investing in job training and employment assistance programs—not by cutting the Social Security protections Americans have earned and depend on.

Is Social Security Disability Taxable?
Social Security Disability

Is Social Security Disability Taxable?

Is Social Security Disability Taxable?.
Most Americans pay Social Security payroll taxes out of their paychecks in order to fund the benefits that go to those who currently collect Social Security.
Yet in a couple of situations, benefits that Social Security pays are indeed taxable for federal income tax purposes.
One of those situations involves Social Security disability, and although many people end up not owing income tax on their disability benefits, some do.
Below, we’ll look at disability benefits both from the SSDI and the Supplemental Security Income programs to determine what, if any, of their benefits you might have to include in your taxable income.
To determine whether you might have to include a portion of your benefits as taxable income on your federal return, you have to take into account both what you get from SSDI and any other income you have.
However, if the amounts are greater than those thresholds, then you might have to include some of your benefits as taxable income.
For the majority of people on receiving disability payments under SSDI, income levels are low enough that their benefits won’t meet these thresholds and therefore won’t be subject to taxation.
The good news is that the IRS never forces you to include SSI payments in your taxable income.
Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after.

Trump’s Hiring Freeze May Worsen 526-Day Disability Case Backlog
Social Security Disability

Trump’s Hiring Freeze May Worsen 526-Day Disability Case Backlog

Trump’s Hiring Freeze May Worsen 526-Day Disability Case Backlog.
GOP former Social Security commissioner urges exemption Union says appeals backlog will lengthen without new hires President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze may exacerbate a backlog of appeals for Social Security Disability Insurance that has grown so big that an average case takes more than a year to be heard.
“These are people who are desperate,” Judge Marilyn Zahm, president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges union, said.
“There may be a hiring freeze on federal employment, but there’s no freeze on people getting older, people getting sicker, people having injuries and accidents, and people needing disability insurance.” Zahn is among around 1,650 judges tasked with considering claims from Americans whose initial requests for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits have been denied by state agencies.
Last year the Social Security Administration announced that, along with efforts to streamline the process, it wanted to grow the ranks of judges to 1,900 by the end of fiscal year 2018.
Trump’s order allows agencies to exempt staff needed for “national security or public safety responsibilities,” and authorizes the director of the Office of Personnel Management to grant exemptions.
“I think it’s going to be pretty devastating,” said Michael Astrue, a George W. Bush appointee who served in the same role.
Multiple Culprits Astrue blamed the backlog on multiple culprits, including what he said was a long-running failure by the personnel office to efficiently vet candidates and insufficient focus on the issue from his Obama-appointed successor.
But he said freezing the agency’s hiring would only make the problem worse.
The Office of Personnel Management referred an inquiry to a budget office spokesperson, who did not respond.

The Disability Program Needs Help Itself
Social Security Disability

The Disability Program Needs Help Itself

The Disability Program Needs Help Itself.
When President Eisenhower added disability benefits to Social Security in 1956, he pledged that the new program would be run “efficiently and effectively” and that it would help “rehabilitate the disabled so that they may return to useful employment.” Six decades on, Social Security Disability Insurance has 1 million rejected applications pending appeal, pays out 25 percent more in benefits ($141 billion last year) than it gets in taxes, and is set to be insolvent by the end of 2016.
There are currently 11 million people on disability.
SSDI provides crucial support for millions with severe disabilities, yet economists say it does more to keep people capable of some work out of the labor force than it does to find ways for the disabled to work.
Research by Duggan and David Autor, an economist at MIT, attributes much of that jump to financial incentives.
While almost all those applicants were denied benefits at first, many probably went on to appeal, says Maestas.
David Hatfield spent 17 years as a judge hearing benefits appeals.
That would require a long and costly reform process.
“It often takes a crisis before Congress will act to do substantial reform, and we have the makings of one here,” says Duggan.
The bottom line: Economists say the U.S. disability insurance program discourages people from working.

Trump’s Budget Is A Death Sentence For The ALS Community
Social Security Disability

Trump’s Budget Is A Death Sentence For The ALS Community

ALS doesn’t care about my youth or my dreams of growing old with my husband, though.
I and the tens of thousands of other people living with ALS began daring to hope in the last few years.
Imagine the rush of power, the sense of hope that elated us then.
You’ve seen this every day for years, and every day the sight of your diseased body repulses you, breaks your heart.
Try to sit with that pain and fragile hope as you read the next paragraph.
President Trump’s proposed budget calls for complete defunding of the National ALS Registry, which will dramatically slow the research that I and thousands of other people with ALS are counting on to save our lives.
Too many of us will already die waiting for a cure, but Trump’s budget could well be a death sentence for – italics – everyone living with ALS today.
Also, sign up to be an ALS advocate to receive updates on this and other legislation and opportunities for action to make sure Congress is supporting the battle against ALS.
Finally, share this article to enlist more advocates to oppose Trump’s budget and save the lives of the tens of thousands who suffer from ALS.
Please, be the hero we never imagined we would need.

No country for people with disabilities
Social Security Disability

No country for people with disabilities

No country for people with disabilities.
No president’s budget in the modern era has slashed more funds from those most in need than the budget proposal recently put forward by Donald Trump.
Of those proposed slashes, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates, fully three-fifths are aimed at programs that help struggling families make ends meet — and, frankly, survive.
Between Trump’s 2018 budget proposal and the Obamacare repeal passed by the House, the administration’s looking to cut Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps), along with Social Security Disability Insurance, Social Security Income, and other critical safety net programs by nearly $2.5 trillion over ten years.
Together, those targeted programs for low and moderate-income people constitute less than a quarter of all federal program spending — but absorb 60 percent of the proposed cuts.
That will be devastating for people with disabilities who rely on that funding for programs that help them get care, afford assistive devices, and live independently. “The programs that support our health, well-being, and independence have been targeted, with proposed funding for these programs being brought to unrealistic and dangerously low levels.” The Center for American Progress’ Rebecca Vallas adds, “Many people rely on Medicaid for attendant care and services, home modifications, and in-home hospital grade equipment.
Compounding the hit, Trump also seeks to slash federal special education spending for children with disabilities, along with big cuts to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and to funding for autism research and state developmental disabilities councils.
Finally, if Trump has his ruthless druthers, over the next ten years $70 billion will be yanked from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which has long protected workers who become injured or disabled.
The depth and breadth of the harm that would come to the most vulnerable in our society, to those least able to take the hits — even as those savings are handed over to those who already live luxurious lifestyles — would make this a country in which children and adults with disabilities are no longer welcome.