Articles Posted in Supplemental Security Income

According to a recent news article from Disability Scoop, almost 40 percent of students with disabilities do not graduate high school. Education policy officials predict around 90 percent of children with disabilities should be able to graduate with the systems and practices in place. In reality, we are seeing only six out of ten of these disabled individuals actually being able to complete all requirements and graduate from high school.

at-the-campus-2-1074636-m.jpgThese recent numbers come from a study that examined much of the available federal education data. This 60 percent graduation rate for students with disabilities is significantly lower than the total graduation rate of around 81 percent.

It should be noted, the graduation rate for disabled students is higher than in previous years, so the new special education system is working to some extent, but a rate of 20 percent below the average graduation rate is still an alarming issue for many researchers and, more importantly, parents of students with disabilities.
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Across the nation in large cities like Boston, there are large numbers of federal workers. One of the advantages to being a federal worker is, of course, the benefits available to all employees. These benefits often involve cheaper access to better health insurance plans and access to federal retirement programs.

money-choise-concept-1439274-m.jpgWhile the days of full federal pension are essentially over, federal employees still have a variety of good options for employee-funded retirement programs with federal government matching available. However, in some ways, being a federal employee is more complicated than working in the private sector.

A recent article from Fed Smith, a publication of interest to federal workers, or “Feds” as they are often called, discusses one complication for disabled federal workers who are looking to retire or stop working as a result of their disability. These issues involve how federal disability retirement programs work in relation to Social Security Administration (SSA) run Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
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With GOP representatives and presidential hopefuls looking for ways to cut funding to the program, Senate Democrats are trying a different approach. Many Democrats believe the answer to our impending to Social Security Disability Fund crisis is to simply combine its budget with the Social Security retirement fund.

moneyhand.jpgThere are two separate funds administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). First, there is the Social Security retirement fund with which most people are familiar, and then there is the Social Security disability fund. The disability fund provides money for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Since the two funds operate programs that serve different functions, under current law, they must be separately maintained.
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Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a daunting task for any unrepresented claimant. There is nothing more frustrating than suffering from a severe disability that will not allow you to work and take care of yourself and your family. With medical bills piling up, seemingly arbitrary denials and reductions in already existing benefits can push that level of frustration even higher.

hand-cuffs-12754-m.jpgWhile there is no excuse for this kind of allegedly illegal conduct, this level of frustration was so high in one Florida man that he allegedly called in a bomb threat to his local Social Security Administration (SSA) office after the agency reduced his much-needed disability benefits.

According to a recent news article from the News Herald, a man just pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat on the office. Authorities say 36-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to the charge of giving false information in connection with a threat on the SSA office. Prosecutors say he admitted he was trying to intimidate agency employees after he disagreed with the amount of his monthly benefits check.
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May is national ALS awareness month, so it seems appropriate to discuss the serious disease and how it works in terms of a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits claim. According to a recent article from NTV News, ALS, formally known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and informally referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the famous baseball player who was stricken with ALS, is included on Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowances List.
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With GOP presidential candidates trying to get ahead in the polls and eventually attain the party’s nomination, many are trying to shape themselves as fiscal hawks, to use the term favored by many cable news pundits.

congress.jpgOne of the main ways to seem like a fiscal hawk is to speak out about how Congress needs to get rid of “entitlements” in this country. Unfortunately, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program falls into the category of entitlements, as defined by those who want to get rid of the system.
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While most people think of physical disabilities in the context of Social Security Disability benefits, a sizable number are incapacitated as a result of psychological illness.

According to a recent news report from Medical News, the Institute of Medicine is calling for use of standardized psychological testing protocols for claimants applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. It has been suggested these standardized methods will improve accuracy of claim determinations relating to mental health issues.

brains.jpgHowever, those who favor this approach tend to believe it would save the United States Social Security Administration money, because it would reduce the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits for reasons of mental illness. This, of course, assumes there are many people who claim to have severe mental health issues and cannot work who are essentially faking their illness to avoid working, or “malingering,” to use a term favored by SSA. It should be noted, the organization behind this initiative believes further study would be necessary to see how standardized psychological testing methods would affect the number of Americans claiming disability, but the organization’s report includes methodology for determining the financial impact of standardized testing protocols.

These standardized testing methods are what is known as a validity testing and would be used in conjunction with standard psychological diagnostic tools already used by most mental health professionals. Proponents also claim validity tests can be used to see how much effort a claimant is putting into the process of performing tests, or if they are trying not to do well on cognitive ability assessment exercises.
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According to a recent Letter to the Editor in the Asbury Park Press, one Hurricane Sandy survivor and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits recipient makes a call to lift the income cap from the program funding tax.

money-problems.jpgAs the author describes, he and his wife, both retired, had saved for years and created a sound financial plan. However, they never planned for anything like Hurricane Sandy. After having to spend most of their savings to rebuild their home, they would have not been able to survive without Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

He describes SDDI as one of the most successful programs ever created by the United States government, but it is in trouble with respect to future spending cuts. He also claims anyone calling disability benefits an entitlement program is not telling the truth, as it is a program every worker pays into for the duration of their working life, so they can receive benefits should they ever become disabled. However, as this author was having his entire paycheck taxed, that is not true for other people who make more money.

There is a cap of $118,500, meaning everyone pays taxes on their first $118,500 of income toward Social Security Disability Insurance. Any money earned in addition to the cap is not subject to SSDI taxation. For most people who earn less than the cap, their entire wage is subject to taxation. For a person earning millions of dollars each year, only a very small portion of their income is subject to taxes to fund the SSDI program.
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Every week, we see a new rash of news articles about the fate of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Most focus on the fact that by the end of 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not have enough money in its budget to pay all disability awards. There is expected to be a 20 percent reduction in the budget if Congress doesn’t act quickly to fix the pending deficit.

downtown-columbus-ohio-1435338-m.jpgOne way to fix this predicted crisis is to shift money from the Social Security retirement benefits to the SSDI and Supplemental Secularity Income (SSI) benefits fund. The retirement fund is currently fully funded through 2030, so if money is reallocated to the disability fund, there is time to work on a long-term solution or do another funds shift at some point in the future. This is what Congress has done numerous times in the last 60 years in which Social Security has been in existence.

However, many in the media and Congress are using this as chance to discuss all alleged problems with Social Security, and many want to use this opportunity to cut or privatize the program. This would result in a tremendous hardship to millions of Americans who depend on disability insurance to make ends meet and are truly too disabled to work and take care of their families.

One of the claims by opponents of the SSDI and SSI program is that it is too easy to get disability insurance, and most claimants are gaming the system, to the use the terminology of Senator Rand Paul. There has been a lot of focus on how benefits are particularly easy to get in Ohio, where administrative law judges (ALJs) tend to side with claimants, according to critics.
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Many disabled Americans know the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) has programs for which they can apply if they are disabled, but they often do not know about the specifics of the various disability benefits programs.

question-mark-1323680-m.jpgA recent article from the Daily Local News takes a closer look at the differences between the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

On the surface, the main difference noted in this article is the SSDI program essentially pays benefits based upon a claimant’s disability and work history, whereas SSI pays benefits based upon a claimant’s disability and a low-income level.
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