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.”

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…

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…

IRS and Social Security Administration Differ on Same-Sex Marriage

There’s a very interesting article on the front page of the New York Times today, “Gay Marriages Get Recognition From the IRS” The I.R.S. will now recognize same-sex marriages that were legal where they were entered into, even if the couple do not live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. “But the Social Security Administration is now using a ‘place of residence’ standard in determining spousal benefits…,” There are fantastic ramifications here. The IRS says you are married, but…

Same Sex Marriages and the Windsor Case’s Social Security Impact

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional as a deprivation of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S.____(2013). Section 3 defined “marriage” and “spouse” to exclude same sex partners. This decision will have an impact on the eligibility of dependents and survivors for Social Security benefits. But the Social Security Administration has not issued guidelines and policies to implement this decision….

Media: Tell the Real Story of Social Security Recipients

Doctors in my community sometimes say “all lawyers are rich and ripping off the system, getting benefits for people who do not deserve them!” My response is: “You do not know what you are talking about. Doctors need to certify recipients for disability, so why don’t you say doctors are ripping off the system?” But upon further reflection why do doctors and some others feel that the system is being ripped off?  Here is a possible explanation. When President Clinton…

Social Security Disability Experts Defend SSDI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the safety net for disabled US workers, has come under recent scrutiny. Some critics suggest the program adds to the national deficit and is a drain on the US economy. They argue the program should be cut back or even eliminated. Industry experts however are asking for a more objective review of the national insurance program. In fact SSDI adds nothing to the US deficit since the program is entirely funded by US payroll taxes….

In the Debate Over Disability Benefits, It’s Disabled People Who Continue To Suffer.

The following is a guest post by Peter H.D. McKee In 1936, when the original Social Security Act went into effect, sharecropper and folk musician John Handcox wrote a song about the desperate times Americans faced during the Depression: “There are mean things happening in this land/ Though the rich man boasts and brags/ while the poor man goes in rags/ there are mean things happening in this land.” Franklin Roosevelt’s Social Security legislation sought to soften those mean times….

Social Security Administration Commissioners Respond to National Public Radio Story on Disability in America

Today, eight former commissioners of the United States Social Security Administration signed an open letter expressing concern with a public radio program about disability in America. Produced by Chana Joffe-Walt, versions of the story “Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability in America” aired nationwide on broadcasts of This American Life and All Things Considered. With permission, the Law Offices of Louis J. Vigorita is shared below. As former Commissioners of the Social Security Administration (SSA), we write to…