Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SSA Needs Immediate Funding

SSDI
Taxpaying Americans expect certain protections when they are injured and cannot work, or reach a certain age. No person should be caught out in the cold when their life takes a turn for the worst which is why we have agencies like the Social Security Administration (SSA). Aside from Social Security retirement benefits, the administration has many programs for people who are disabled, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Right now, over a million Americans are desperately awaiting aid from the SSA. Without assistance, individuals are at risk of severe consequences. Vulnerable people must be taken care of; they should not have to perish waiting for support. Unfortunately, that seems to be happening more often than you might think. Just over a week ago, The Washington Post published alarming findings regarding the Social Security disability backlog. Some people are waiting 596 days to receive a judge's disposition on obtaining benefits, Medicare, or Medicaid. In fact, the report showed that 10,000 people died waiting for a judge's decision.


SSA Needs Funding


In the United States, there are 1,600 Social Security administrative law judges charged with deciding the fate of over a million-people hoping to receive disability benefits. Given that the backlog continues to grow, the wait time for applicants only becomes lengthier. In 2012, the average wait time was 353 days, which seems long but paled in comparison to 2016.

To reduce the backlog and get people with disabilities the help they require, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, called for Congress to fund the SSA adequately, according to a press release. In a recent WAPO opinion piece, Sen. Wyden wrote: 

“Congress has a chance to turn the tide and restore some functionality to the SSDI hearings process. Instead of harmful cuts, Congress should provide sufficient administrative funding in its upcoming appropriations bill so those who are eligible can receive disability insurance in a timely way. That’s why I’ve asked Senate leaders to make the necessary investments so the Social Security Administration can make case-management systems updates, ensure that the agency has enough evaluators and administrative law judges to process claims, and fulfill its obligations to those caught in the disability backlog.”

Americans shouldn't have to wait nearly two years to receive a judge's decision on benefits. So many things can go wrong during such a period, both physically and financially. The press release points out that SSA’s administrative budget has been cut by almost $460 million.


SSDI Attorney


If your application for SSDI was denied or you are applying for the first time, please contact the Driscoll Law Corporation. We can assist you in working through the process to ensure that you get the help you need in a timely fashion.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

SSA Lingo Worth Knowing

SSA
AIME, COLA, and OASDI are three acronyms that might not mean a thing to you, especially for those who’ve never dealt with the SSA (Social Security Administration). Even if you have sought assistance from the SSA, there is a good chance that you have found yourself scratching your head over the language used. The three acronyms above are some examples of what one may hear when discussing benefits with administration representatives.

The scale and scope of SSA terminology can be dizzying. A multitude of factors plays a part in determining one’s monthly benefits. If you are like most Americans, it’s unlikely you thought it prudent to become fluent in the language of the Social Security Administration.


SSA Glossary


In case you were curious, AIME stands for Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (i.e., the dollar amount used to calculate your Social Security benefit if you attained age 62 or became disabled). COLA is an acronym for Cost Of Living Adjustment which occurs when benefits are increased to match a rise in the cost-of-living (inflation). OASDI is short for Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance, or programs that provide monthly cash benefits to workers and their dependents when they retire, die or become disabled.

Those acronyms are just three examples, there are many more, and we chose those above randomly to give you an idea of what you may hear when applying for benefits. Understanding the lingo of Social Security puts one at an advantage when having conversations about benefits. Instead of feeling like a bystander in the effort to have more significant financial security, you can be an active participant if you know the vernacular.

If you are approaching retirement age or are of retirement age, the SSA suggests knowing particular terms. For instance, PIA (primary insurance amount), FRA (full retirement age), and DRCs (delayed retirement credits) are acronyms which should be in your vocabulary. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has provided a glossary of Social Security terms to help you take part in the conversation about your benefits.


SSA Disability Attorney


While apprising yourself of Social Security language is beneficial for understanding the process, we would be remiss for failing to point out that the benefits process can get complicated. Not everyone who applies is approved, you may find yourself having to fight for financial security. If you are applying for the first time or were denied, please contact attorney Stephanie Merritt Driscoll for a free consultation.