How Would Americans Fix Social Security?

On Tuesday October 18, 2016 Lou attended an event co hosted by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and Voice of the People focused on where the public stands regarding the need for changes to protect and secure Social Security.

No Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2016

From Social Security Matters: “The CPI has not risen since the last cost-of-living adjustment in 2015. As a result, your SSI benefit rate and, for most people, your Social Security benefit amount will stay the same in 2016.”

Good news for injured workers

The California Department of Industrial Relations will begin accepting applications on April 13 in selected cases that qualify where injured workers can receive a share of a new $120 million Return-To-Work Supplement fund. In selected cases injured workers will receive a $5,000 check from the employer-funded program. The injured worker must have already received a $6,000 supplemental job displacement benefit voucher. Then, they must complete the on-line electronic application. “Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, April 13, 2015. All completed…

Temporary Total Disability Rates Have Increased

Minimum and maximum temporary total disability (TTD) rates for 2015 work injury claims have increased as of January 1 as a result of the rise in California’s State Average Weekly Wage, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. The weekly wage rose more than 2.67 percent from $31,067.25 to $1,095.70 in the 12 months ending March 31, 2015. The TTD benefits is two-thirds of the worker’s salary, with a minimum and maximum amount. As of January 1, the minimum TTD…

Clients ask: Social Security, what is going on?

What’s going on with Social Security? My colleague, Jennifer L. Fisher, Attorney at Law in Marysville, Kansas, puts it like this: “The system needs [to be] changed –  not starved, fed, or micromanaged. Until the fundamental systemic dysfunction is addressed, there will always be a problem du jour that detracts from claimants’ due process rights.  When there are too many cases in the system, quotas will be emphasized; when there is not enough money, pay rates will be emphasized.  When the…

Medicare set-asides approved more quickly, study finds

A National Council on Compensation Insurance study shows that the Center for Medicare Services is approving Medicare set-asides more quickly, but experts were quick on Monday to point out that the system still has flaws. According to the study, which analyzed 2,200 settlements submitted from the firm Gould and Lamb between Sept. 2009 and Nov. 2013, the average amount of time CMS has taken to approve Medicare setasides has dropped from a peak of 272 days in the second quarter…

SSDI: The truth behind media and political mischaracterizations (re-published from The Hill)

On August 25, The Hill published a commentary by NOSSCR’s Executive Director Barbara Silverstone. The piece, entitled “SSDI: The truth behind media and political mischaracterizations” was submitted in response to recent attacks on the Social Security Disability program that repeat misconceptions its growth. The response provides accurate explanations for the increase in applicants, the need for representatives, and the integrity of the program. Full text of the article is included below, as well as a link to the article on…

Are Mental Injuries Still Allowed Under the Labor Code?

Q. Are mental injuries still allowed under the labor code as amended in the new workers’ compensation reform laws? A. For a worker to benefit from the “violent act” exception, Labor Code Section 4660.1 says the worker must either be the victim of, or have direct exposure to, a “violent act” within the meaning of Section 3208.3. Section 3208.3 does not define “violent act,” and California’s courts have rarely addressed this statute in a workers’ compensation context. The Workers’ Compensation…

Who’s affected when benefits are cut?

Cutting safety nets that so many depend on means people fall through the holes. People like Kira. Watch her tell her story in this video:

On Receiving Full Spousal Benefits

Q. Can I receive reduced retirement benefits at age 62 under my record then at full retirement age receive full spouse’s benefits? A. If you choose to receive a reduced benefit before full retirement age on your own record, you are not entitled to the full spouse’s benefit rate upon reaching full retirement age, and a reduced benefit rate is payable for as long as you remain entitled to spouse’s benefits. When you apply for reduced retirement benefits, we will…