Tuesday, May 23, 2017

White House planning cuts to Social Security Disability

Sadly, this is not "fakenews". It comes from the Trump Administration's Office of Management and Budget's director, Mick Mulvaney.

1. "The budget will call for a $72 billion cut over 10 years to the Social Security Disability Insurance. Mulvaney said this would inspire more people to get off disability and back to work."

2. "According to Bloomberg, the cuts to the food-stamp program in the budget would amount to $193 billion."

3. "The budget proposes an additional $610 billion cut to Medicaid, with $250 billion in savings to offset it. Based on Mulvaney's comments, it appears this is in addition to the $880 billion already cut (from medicaid) under the House's American Health Care Act healthcare bill.



Link to the article: Social Security Disability budget cuts.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Will your SSD or SSI benefits increase if your condition worsens?

Will your SSD or SSI benefits increase if your condition worsens? Every once in a while, this question comes up.

The answer is No, and that's because you get the max benefit you are entitled to when you are approved. For SSI, this is a set amount. For SSD, what you get is based on what you paid into the system through your years of work activity (your fica deductions from your paychecks).



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Is it easier to get disability if you are 50 or older?

Yes, the rules that govern most decisions are a little easier if you are at least 50 years old. However, individuals under 50 can also be approved provided their medical evidence satisfies the requirements of Social Security Disability and SSI. Regardless of whether a person is over 50 or under, the vast majority of all people who apply for disability will usually have to file appeals and ultimately be seen by a judge at a disability hearing.

#disabilityage50
Full page: Is it easier to get disability if you are 50 or older?



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







How Long Does A Disability Appeal Usually Take?

Most disability applications will receive a decision in under 90 days. If a person is denied and has to file a reconsideration appeal, that appeal will usually be faster, most often in under 60 days. This is largely because the reconsideration appeal is largely just a repeat of the application process.

To speed up and help the appeal, make sure the disability examiner knows about your most recent medical treatment, any new doctors you have, if your condition has gotten worse or if you have any new diagnoses. Also be sure to let them know if your contact information has changed. If you get scheduled for an exam, do not miss the appointment. If you get a letter asking you to respond by calling the examiner, do so quickly.

#howlongfordisabilityappeals
Full page: How Long Does A Disability Appeal Usually Take?



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog.

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







How does social security decide whether your can work or not?

As a former disability examiner, I can tell you that the process does not rely just on your medical records. Examiners try to categorize the type of work you have done in the past to see if you can return to it, and also to see if you have skills that would transfer to some other type of work. This is why it is very important to provide accurate and detailed descriptions of your past work.

#howdoessocialsecuritydecideifyoucannotwork
Full page: How does social security decide whether your can work or not?.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Monday, April 17, 2017

How important is Social Security?

How important is Social Security (and, by extension, Social Security Disability, since that is simply a person getting their Social Security early due to disability)?

This is how important:

"If Social Security income weren't available, the CBPP (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) estimates the senior poverty rate would be north of 40%!

Data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) appear to complement the CBPP's study. The SSA finds that 61% of retired workers rely on their monthly Social Security benefit to comprise at least half of their income.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Cutting Social Security tax...not a good idea.

Yes, as the article linked below states, if you cut payroll taxes (meaning that pesky fica deduction that comes out of a person's paycheck), then you cut the funding mechanism for Social Security and roughly half the country at retirement winds up with nothing, and nearly half of the rest winds up with much much less. The majority of Americans have less than $1000 on hand to deal with any kind of financial emergency, most don't have a defined retirement benefit, and half or more than half don't have a 401(k).

Social Security tax cuts.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







How many get awarded disability benefits?

According to a recent article, "In 2002, 44.6 percent of applications were approved. Since 2002, approval rates have declined, with rates hovering around 32 percent since 2014."

This, of course, illustrates why it is important to submit an application that fully documents one's medical treatment sources and accurately lists all employment and job descriptions. And, it highlights the need for competent representation at the disability hearing level.

#howmanygetdisability?



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Out of touch journalists think disability benefits are an easy path

This comes from a conservative rag, National Review, and it once again espouses the seriously screwed up mentality that when people fight to get their disability benefits, they are somehow choosing the easy road and taking a copout. I don't know where these people get their beliefs but they've obviously never had to see a friend or relative go through years of disability, pain, financial ruin, and waiting for additional years as their disability claim moved like a snail through the bureaucratic system.

Here's what National Review had to say:

"The core of the American disability crisis is represented in the hard cases, not the easy frauds. A man used to have no choice. He had to keep at it, to look for work where he could find it. Now we give him options — the painful grind or a simpler path, one that promises a degree of stability in troubled times. All too many are choosing that simpler path. Perhaps that’s a choice that shouldn’t be so easy to make."

These people are out of touch, have no empathy for others, and have screwed up values.

The National Review article.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







How many people are denied disability?

How many people are denied disability? The figures on this vary by state and by year. Historically, about 70 percent of applicants for SSD and SSI have been denied at the application level. In recent years, about 77 percent have been denied and 23 percent have been approved. Truly, for the last 3 decades, getting approved for disability has been fairly difficult...despite the fact that members of the U.S. Congress often claim the program is too easy, as well as costly.

This is what the Center for American Progress has to say:

"According to CAP, the center for American Progress, almost 80 percent of SSDI applicants are denied during the initial application and “thousands of applicants die” annually waiting to learn if they will receive assistance. Furthermore, CAP also found that disability recipients who are approved tend to skew older and had worked in physically demanding jobs before applying for benefits."



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Monday, March 27, 2017

Should Social Security (and Social Security Disability) Be Privatized?

No. This is one of the dumbest ideas imaginable. Why?

1. Stock market crash of 1987.
2. Stock market crash of 2000-2002.
3. Stock market crash of 2008-2009.


Why does this question resurface now and then? Think about who promotes it. Wall Street does, because they can skim from it, just like they did with the rise of 401(k)s which, compared to traditional retirements, are a disaster. Conservative politicians who don't even think Social Security should exist in the first place also are in favor of privatization.

Put simply: bad idea; stupid idea.



Here's the article: Dumb idea.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Eight thousand people died waiting for a disability hearing in 2016

People die waiting for a disability hearing (while Congress and the White House debate cutting it further)

I have to admit I am a bit surprised to read this article in the Washington Times, a conservative leaning paper. Very often, such papers facilitate attacks on the disability system. Here are some quotes from the article. “The situation is really bad for the claimants right now. . The bottom line is inadequate funding of Social Security,” said Lisa Ekman, director of governmental affairs for the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. It is an association of attorneys representing people with disabilities.

“Eight thousand people died during fiscal year 2016 who were waiting for a (disability) hearing,” Ekman said. “That’s 23 people a day, almost one an hour to get a hearing. . We see people who lose their homes. We see people who are evicted. We see people who can’t afford to pay for medications, who become very debilitated while they wait. It creates people who are homeless.”

"The problem: An overwhelming number of applications for disability - about 2.3 million in 2016, up from 1.7 million in 2002 but down from a peak in 2010 - flow into a system in which 77 percent of initial claims have, over the last decade, been denied. Moreover, the backlog of decisions on first-time claims is massive."

None of this is new, of course. What is new is that we have a new administration that seems very willing to join in on the attacks to the disability system.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump Administration taking clear aim at cutting Social Security Disability

If you thought Donald Trump wasn't planning to make an attack on Social Security Disability (remember: he promised never to touch Social Security and SSD is part of that), think again. And if you think this is "fake news", watch the video clip of Trump's budget director speaking.

This Post article quotes his own budget director. Three of the most salient excerpts are:

1. "Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney finally acknowledged on Sunday that Trump may in fact violate his campaign promises to protect the two programs — by taking aim at the Social Security program that helps the disabled.

2. "Mulvaney replied by pivoting to the specific issue of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program administered by the Social Security Administration that aids disabled Americans. He complained about the program’s cost and indicated that the administration wants to alter it."

3. “Let me ask you a question, do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don’t think so,” he said, with a slight grin on his face. “It’s the fastest growing program. It was — it grew tremendously under President Obama. It’s a very wasteful program and we want to try and fix that.”

The truth? Here's the truth: "It is hardly an easy program to enroll in — the Social Security Administration rejects a majority of those who apply for disability payments. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes that fewer than 400 of 1,000 initial applications for approval are accepted."

Not only that, of course; applying and appealing denials often takes years. During which time people go bankrupt. Lose their homes. A billionaire with his cabinet of billionaires wouldn't know much about that, of course.

Here's the article: Social Security Disability cuts.





I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Trump Admin plans cuts to program that helps with home heating

LIHEAP. It stands for "low income home energy assistance program". It's hard for me to believe that the new administration actually thinks its ok to cut this program. I mean, where are their brains? 6 Million people get heating assistance from LIHEAP which the Trump administration plans to cut.



Before I became a disability claims examiner, I was a case worker for two separate departments of social services. LIHEAP (oddly, pronounced lee-app) was a program that helped people who couldn't afford to pay their hearing bill (perhaps they had had a medical emergency, or some giant bill had come their way, or they had become unemployed due, or become disabled and unable to work) to pay that bill. It was a one-time assistance thing. So, a person only got help once during the winter. That's hardly a govt handout program. It was really just compassionate assistance and the sort of thing we should expect from our government and the, frankly, idiots we send to high office. It was a program that helped many people avoid freezing and most likely saved lives. And they want to cut this program.

"Among the many federal programs slated for elimination in Donald Trump's budget is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), a Health and Human Services Department initiative that provides close to 6 million low-income households with help for their heating and cooling bills."

Here's the article: Trump cuts to LIHEAP.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Meals on Wheels cuts in one county = 32,000 fewer meals



Meals on Wheels budget cuts amount to 32,000 fewer meals in one county alone. Meals on Wheels, the national nonprofit that provides food for the homebound elderly.

"In Collin County, where the population of senior citizens has ballooned, Meals on Wheels will serve over 250,000 meals in 2017."

This is a good example of what happens when you have a cabinet composed almost entirely of multi-millionaires and billionaires. They have no connection to the needs of ordinary citizens and certainly not to the poor, disabled, and elderly.

Here's the article: Meals on wheels cuts.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Congress wants to cut Social Security Disability



These Congress members referenced in this article want to cut Social Security Disability benefits. This is not surprising since I've been watching these types of attacks on the disability system since the early 2000s.

How are they attacking? Here's how: in the current system, if you prove you are disabled, the assumption is made that you may never work again at a substantial and gainful level. That's because to get disability in the first place you have to have very strong medical evidence. Its not an easy thing to win. Even so, your claim does get reviewed every few years to see if you have experienced medical improvement. If you have improved, you may be taken off benefits. That usually doesn't happen, of course, because most people who get awarded disability never improve that much. That's because they were legitimately found disabled in the first place

HOWEVER, these politicians have the notion that disability tends to be a "temporary thing" and that "people are being held back by being given disability".

WOW. Not surprised, of course. Their "fix" is that people should be given TIME-LIMITED BENEFITS. That's right. Benefits that last only a while before you have to APPLY ALL OVER AGAIN. Anyone who ever spent months or years trying to get benefits won know that everything these politicians are saying is totally out of touch with reality. Basically a lie.

Here's the article: Congress wants to cut Social Security Disability



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DISABILITY BACK PAY FOR CHILDREN OVER AGE 18

Question: Who is entitled to back pay for children over eighteen if they are still in school and you have been paying everything for him or her.

As to who is entitled to disability back pay for children over 18, the child (adult) who is eighteen is entitled to the back payment of benefits and the ongoing monthly payments. Social Security begins to pay all children their own benefits.

Recent postings to the Facebook page:

How is the decision for a SSD or SSI disability application made?
Can you avoid being turned down for disability?
Can you get more SSI disability?
Can you file a disability claim in your sixties?
Will I get disability benefits after I appeal?
Social Security Disability decisions by judges and examiners
Can you get SSDI if you have a trust fund?
Going to a disability doctor
Disability hearing evidence




I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This is a fibromyalgia patient in New Zealand who, at age 22, has had the condition for five years.

"Her circadian rhythm has been compromised, meaning she cannot fall asleep until the early hours.She also experiences cognitive difficulties and memory loss, the "fibro fog". She began to take drugs to relieve the pain, but the side effects were overwhelming. Tramadol caused hallucinations and vomiting. One winter's night in Porirua, she was kicked off the train. "They thought I was a drunk kid," she said."

Full article at: Dispersing the fibro fog - understanding fibromyalgia.

And here are the more recent postings to the SSDRC facebook page:

Will I be approved for disability on my appeal?
Based on my age, is there any benefit in applying for disability?
Is it possible to get an SSI increase?
Disability can be won at the initial claim and reconsideration stages
How is the decision on a disability application made?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is the average time for an answer after a disability hearing?
Social Security considers End Stage Renal Disease to be a severe impairment
Can you qualify for Social Security Disability on the basis of fibromyalgia?
What medical disabilities Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How much time does it take to get an SSI Decision?
How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits
Who is eligible for SSI Disability?
If I don't get disability back pay, will I have to pay a lawyer fee?
What does Social Security consider to be a disability?




I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Thursday, June 09, 2016

Sometimes you get bad advice even from the Social Security office

A friend of mine contacted me a few days ago. A long-time friend of hers was looking into filing for disability benefits. Actually, he had been considering filing for about three years, which was part of the problem (if your condition is severe enough that it makes it difficult for you to engage in and do work activity, "thinking" about applying for disability may simply amount to a very huge waste of time since, during that time of consideration you might have navigated through several layers of the system, such as the initial claim and reconsideration appeal).

He had finally gotten up the nerve to contact a local security field office and asked the person on the other end of the line "Will I qualify for disability?". This, of course, was mistake number two. The individuals who answer the phones at social security offices are SRs, or service representatives. They do not take claims but are clerical support personnel. As such, they are not qualified to answer questions like this.

Despite this fact, the service representative responded to the man's question by asking him "Can you work at all?". He told her he had been involved in programming for most of his working career. The absolute truth is that he was a cobol programmer. I don't think they even teach this language anymore and most leftover jobs for cobol have to do with very old systems in institutional settings that have not managed to creak into the 21st century...so, you can certainly see that there's a lot of forward job opportunity associated with being a cobol programmer.

After informing her of his computer background, he told her that, though his condition impaired him in such a way that he could not focus and concentrate enough to do his old job, he could still "probably flip burgers". To which the service rep replied "Then you're not disabled".

This was the the point at which my own friend, who is a friend of the cobol programmer, called me. Upon hearing the story, I told her that service reps are not qualified to answer such questions. However, there really isn't anyone at the social security office who is. That's because even the CRs, or claims representatives, who take disability and retirement claims, only take the claims. They don't actually work on them. That duty is left to disability examiners and the medical and mental consultants who provide case support to them (an M.D. physician and a Ph.D. psychologist, both of whom work in the same unit as the examiner).

Disability examiners work at a state agency that is entirely separate from the social security office. After a claim for disability is taken at a social security office, it is sent to DDS (disability determination services, or whatever serves as the equivalent agency in a particular state) agency for decision-processing, where it may stay for weeks or months while evidence is being gathered and evaluated.

More to the point, though, this particular social security employee arguably "did a bad thing". Because in their complete ignorance of how the Social Security Disability and SSI process works, they left this individual with the clear impression that, if he could work at any job and at any level of earnings, he could not be found disabled by SSA. Which is completely untrue. The system administered by SSA takes into account whether or not a person can return to their past work, but also whether or not they can do some type of other work. And that "other work" part is highly mediated by a number of considerations such as a person's age, transferable skills, and current and anticipated functional limitations which may be mental or physical in nature.

The process for making a disability determination can seem fairly complex. And in some ways it is, and in others it isn't. But one thing certainly stands out as true. There are no individuals manning the phone lines at the social security office who are qualified to answer the question "Am I disabled?". So, one point of advice to individuals who are considering filing an application for disability would be...don't ask that question, because the uninformed answer that you get back will only serve to disappoint and perhaps lead you astray.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog.

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Monday, June 06, 2016

Tips for requesting a disability hearing

There are several pages on SSDRC.com on the various aspects of social security disability hearings. However, this post will be a bit different and will focus on the steps to take in filing a request for a disability hearing, such as 1. When are appeals filed, 2. What is the deadline for filing an appeal?, 3. Submitting the appeal, 4. Doing followups, 5. What happens after a hearing is requested?, and 6. Preparation for the hearing.

Link to page: The steps to take in filing a request for a disability hearing



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog.

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.