Tuesday, June 21, 2016

AB 1584 Increases SSI SSP Benefits

AB 1584
In the 2008, faced with a severe economic recession, cuts were made by the California Legislature and then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger which has had a huge impact on Californians who were aided by Social Security Insurance (SSI) and State Supplemental Payment (SSP). As a result, state assistance program grants were significantly reduced, forcing people who we receiving benefits to live well below the poverty line.

By and large, people receiving SSI and SSP benefits are seniors and other disabled Californians who are not able to work due to a disability. Individuals who are over the age of 65, blind or disabled rely on assistance grants to survive. In an attempt to rectify the situation, Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) worked tirelessly on AB 1584, the Tri County Sentry reports. The bill could bring an estimated 1.3 million Californians above the poverty line.

AB 1584 would reinstate the cost-of-living adjustment under the SSP and amend the maximum aid payments. Assemblymember Brown received unanimous support on the Assembly Floor and now will move on with the legislation in the Senate, according to the article. Brown said that AB 1584 moves forward after three years of hard work and could not have made it “without the tireless advocacy of California’s seniors.”

“As a society we have a responsibility to ensure that our seniors can age with dignity,” said Assemblymember Brown. “AB 1584 is an incremental step toward full restoration of recession era cuts to the SSI/SSP program, and I would like to thank the numerous organizations and individual advocates who made this victory possible.” 

The cost-of-living adjustment would begin on January 1 of the 2017 calendar year, AB 1584 would also require a maximum aid payment that does not equal or exceed 96% of the 2016 federal poverty level based on family size, or 100% of the 2017 federal poverty level based on family size, to be increased to an amount that equals 96% or 100% of the federal poverty level, respectively.

Stephanie Merritt Driscoll is an attorney in Southern California who focuses her practice as a Social Security Disability advocate.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Compassionate Allowance for Social Security Benefits

Compassionate Allowance
In the United States, there is a significant number of Americans who are unable to work due to both physical impairment and/or mental health disorders. In such cases, adults who meet the criteria will apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Without access to the aforementioned programs, it would be nearly impossible for people with debilitating disabilities to get by in life.

Applying for benefits, is at times, a long and involved process. Figures from the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicate that it can take up to 6 months before one might expect receiving disability benefits. Naturally, there is no way of knowing if you might be stricken with an illness that prohibits your ability to work. One day everything is fine, and the next day you may find yourself with a diagnosis of a life threatening illness.

Last Sunday, June 5, 2016, the nation observed National Cancer Survivors Day. It is a time to honor everyone who has survived cancer and to provide hope for those who have recently been diagnosed. The celebration is also meant to raise awareness about cancer, and encourage people to have regular physical checkups with their doctor.

In cases involving cancer, patients might find themselves unable to work immediately—due to both the symptoms of the cancer itself and the treatments utilized for treating the illness. When that is the case, obviously time is of the essence, and people may find themselves requiring benefits immediately which would mean the approval process would need to be expedited.

The SSA provides services to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer through the agency’s disability program. However, in severe cases where a patient clearly qualifies for social security services, the SSA offers what is known as Compassionate Allowance. If you have an illness that can be found on the Compassionate Allowance list, the process of receiving social security benefits will be expedited.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute reports that in the United States there were almost 14.5 million people living beyond a cancer diagnosis in 2014. By 2024, that number is expected to reach almost 19 million people. At Driscoll Law Corporation, we would like to honor and show our support for those who have survived cancer and for the millions of people worldwide who have been newly diagnosed.

Stephanie Merritt Driscoll is an attorney in Southern California who focuses her practice as a Social Security Disability advocate.