Jul 2, 2015

Davy Crockett Has A Question

     From WKRN in Nashville, TN:
During a question and answer session with Barack Obama Wednesday a Tennessee man asked the president if there was anything he could do to help him after his social security had been denied several times.
After telling President Obama that Davy Crockett was in fact his real name, the Tennessee resident whose social security has been denied four times asked, “Is there anything you can do to push it through, or something?”
The president responded by promising he would help get the answers to his question. See pictures from President Obama’s visit here.
 “I don’t run the Social Security Office, but if I ask a question, I tend to get an answer pretty quick,” President Obama said. “So what we’re going to do is we’re going to get your information Davey and I’ll make sure the Social Security Administration takes a look at it and expedites it.”

Jul 1, 2015

Social Security Headcount Increased In Late 2014

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has finally posted updated figures for the number of employees at the Social Security Administration at the end of 2014:
  • December 2014 65,430
  • September 2014 64,684
  • June 2014 62,651
  • March 2014 60,820
  • December 2013 61,957
  • September 2013 62,543
  • June 2013 62,877
  • March 2013 63,777
  • December 2012 64,538
  • September 2012 65,113
  • September 2011 67,136
  • December 2010 70,270
  • December 2009 67,486
  • September 2009 67,632
  • December 2008 63,733
  • September 2008 63,990
  • September 2007 62,407
  • September 2006 63,647
  • September 2005 66,147
  • September 2004 65,258
  • September 2003 64,903
  • September 2002 64,648
  • September 2001 65,377
  • September 2000 64,521

Jun 30, 2015

Fewer People Drawing Disability Benefits

     The Social Security Administration has finally released updated numbers for May on the number of people drawing Disability Insurance Benefits. The decline was tiny but the number drawing disability benefits went down in May. In seven of the last eight months the number drawing these benefits has declined.

Jun 29, 2015

Social Security Still Has To Consult With DOJ On Same Sex Marriages

     Despite the Supreme Court's decision that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, the Social Security Administration still isn't ready to treat all partners to same sex marriages the same as partners to heterosexual marriages. They're going to be "working with the Department of Justice" before issuing instructions. What's the over/under on this? A month?

Jun 26, 2015

Same Sex Marriage And Social Security

     The Supreme Court's decision that there is a constitutional right to same sex marriage mostly settles the issue as far as Social Security is concerned. However, there may still be a few issues. Social Security has deferred decisions on most claims based upon same sex marriages. Those can now be processed. However, I suspect that some claims based upon same sex marriages were denied in the past. There may still be issues about back benefits in these cases. I expect that Social Security management is happy that this issue is being put to rest.

Not Keeping Up

Jun 25, 2015

4% Error Rate In Computing SSI Attorney Fees

     From a recent report by Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG):
For the 250 randomly sampled Title XVI claims involving claimant representative fees, SSA withheld fee s from claimants’ past-due benefits and paid the fees directly to the claimant representative. However, our review found that SSA did not always pay the appropriate amount when it paid the claimant representative fee on concurrent Title II and XVI claims. As a result, when SSA overpaid the claimant representative, it generally underpaid the claimant. Similarly, when SSA underpaid the claimant representative, it generally overpaid the claimant. 
Of the 250 sample claimant representative fees, 10 (4 percent) had claimant fee payment errors totaling $13,020: $12,479 in overpayments and $541 in underpayments. The payments ranged from a $3,062 overpayment to a $484 underpayment. Based on our results, we estimate that 15,200 claimant representative fee payments had about $19.8 million in payment errors for Calendar Years 2011 and 2012.
We acknowledge that computing past-due benefits and the related claimant representative fees may be complex, as staff is required to analyze a multitude of factors and make various decisions to pay the past-due benefits and fee. ...