Tag Archives: SSA

Legislation Introduced to Ensure Social Security is Funded

Social Security Administrative Fairness Act (S. 3147/H.R. 6251)

Justice in Aging 

Cuts to the Social Security Administration’s budget have been slowly eroding the quality of customer service the agency provides. These cuts include staffing, field office, and infrastructure cuts, meaning people who apply for or receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits have to contend with longer wait timesincreased delays for appeal hearings, and fewer field offices in which to get in-person assistance from Social Security staff. 

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative John Larson (D-CT) recently introduced legislation to ensure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the resources it needs to provide beneficiaries with the services and support they deserve. The Social Security Administration Fairness Act (S.3147/H.R. 6251) establishes a set funding level for SSA equal to a percentage of the overall benefit payments the agency pays out. The legislation would also impose a moratorium on Social Security field office closures to halt the loss of additional field offices. 

In addition, the legislation would also assist those eligible for or receiving disability benefits. Currently, those approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are subject to a five-month waiting period before they can receive disability benefits and must wait two years before they are eligible for Medicare. This delay in disability or health care benefits can be detrimental for people already dealing with the effects of a serious disability, in addition to other health problems. Sanders’s legislation would eliminate these waiting periods for disability recipients, allowing them to immediately access disability benefits and Medicare coverage.  

Co-sponsors to this legislation in the Senate are Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The corresponding legislation in the House of Representatives has over 30 co-sponsors

We’ll be tracking and reporting on any progress on the bill. Advocates can show their support for the bill by writing or calling their Member of Congress and asking them to sign on in support or thanking them for co-sponsoring. 

Photo by Mark Bonica on Foter.com / CC BY

When Should I File for Social Security Disability?

Today’s post comes from guest author Barbara Tilker from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano. Causey Law Firm can assist you with your application for Social Security disability benefits if you are in the Puget Sound region.

Filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) can be a lengthy process. Every case is different, and some are processed faster than others. However, we’ve found that it takes the Social Security Administration (SSA) between four (4) to six (6) months to make an initial decision.  If that decision is unfavorable (and about 70% of initial decisions are denials), it can take between eight (8) to twelve (12) months to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) scheduled. A year to a year-and-a-half wait is not uncommon.

You should file as soon as you know that you will be out of work for at least twelve (12) straight months OR if your condition is expected to result in death.

Due to the lengthy process, you should file for SSD as soon as possible. You should file as soon as you know that you will be out of work for at least twelve (12) straight months OR if your condition is expected to result in death. If you will not be out of work that long, you should not apply for SSD, unless your condition is expected to result in death. You should talk to y our doctor to see how long he/she expects you to be unable to work.  Your doctor’s support is incredibly important to your case – something we’ll talk more about in the future – so talk to him/her before making the decision to apply.

In order to make sure that you get the maximum amount of benefits you’re entitled to, your application must be filed within 17 full months from the time that you become disabled and unable to work. If you’ve already been out of work for a year or more, consider putting in an application right away to prevent any loss of benefits you would otherwise be entitled to.

Once you’ve spoken to your doctor and made the decision to apply, contact our office to schedule an appointment.