Mar 8, 2014
Mar 7, 2014
Senators Propose UI Offset
Labels: Unemployment Insurance
An Opinion On UI Offset
Mar 6, 2014
Should The Government Be Double-Dipping?
If Social Security has to figure out a way to avoid double dipping, which isn't going to be easy, don't the implementation costs become substantial? The SSI reduction for unemployment benefits isn't necessarily dollar for dollar. There's no point trying to explain it here because it's complicated but usually, not all the unemployment benefits will be offset in computing SSI, just most of them. I think the Actuary needs to take another look at this and assume that there will be no double offset and to try to compute in the costs of administering an offset for unemployment benefits.
Don't blow off the costs of implementation as a factor in this. Some years ago, in order to save money, Congress forced Social Security to pay out larger amounts of back SSI benefits in up to three installments. I think everyone who knows anything about SSI knows that this provision has cost far more money to implement than it ever saved. An unemployment insurance offset could be at least as complicated to administer as the windfall offset which I wouldn't dare to try to explain here. Can anybody at Social Security tell us how much it costs to administer the windfall offset? I'm just guessing but maybe a quarter of a billion to a half billion per year but, seriously, can anyone tell us?
Senate Committee Schedules Hearing
Mar 5, 2014
They Want A Meeting
Actuary Estimates Effects Of UI Offset
I am writing in response to your request for estimates of the financial effects on Social Security of a proposal, included in the President’s FY 2015 Budget, to reduce Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits, dollar for dollar, for any month in which a disabled-worker beneficiary receives unemployment insurance (UI) payments. ...
We estimate that enactment of this proposal in January 2015 would reduce DI benefit payments by $ 2.67 billion in total for calendar years 2015 through 2024, assuming the DI benefit reduction applied for UI claims with payments starting in August 2016 or later (see enclosed Table 1) . Reduction in DI benefit payments through the end of Fiscal Year 2024 would be $2.57 billion (see enclosed Table 2). The proposal specifies that the DI offset would apply for UI claims with payments starting in months beginning at least 18 months after enactment. For the long-range actuarial status of the overall OASDI program, we estimate that enactment of the proposal would reduce the actuarial deficit by about 0.01 percent of taxable payroll. ...
Mar 4, 2014
President's FY 2015 Budget Released
Update: Acting Commissioner Colvin has issued a statement on the President's proposed budget.
Proposed Regulations On Duty To Submit Or Notify -- Unworkable
- Claimant was convicted of driving while impaired eight years before becoming disabled.
- Claimant alleges disability due to depression. Claimant was sexually abused as a child. She has not revealed this fact even to her psychiatrist.
- Claimant was sent for a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) by the insurance company defending his workers compensation claim. (Different vendors have tried to sell Social Security on their FCE products. Social Security has always declined and has explicitly said that it regards FCEs as unreliable.)
- The claimant goes to a new age healer who uses crystals to adjust the claimant's chakras.
- Water aerobics were recommended by one of the claimant's physicians. Claimant attended briefly.
- Claimant had some massages in hopes of easing her back pain. It helped a little but it was too expensive to do regularly.
- The claimant had a conversation with her doctor about whether she should stop work. The doctor encouraged the claimant to keep working, saying that he thought she would get better. The claimant decided to stop work anyway. There is nothing about this conversation in the doctor's records. (Is this a patient-physican privilege issue? Can there be any right to patient-physican privilege in a Social Security disability claim?)
- The claimant has a meeting with his pastor and reveals his anguish about why God has afflicted him with so much pain. He wonders whether he is being punished for his past sin of drug dealing. The pastor says he doesn't think that God is punishing him and urges him to pray for forgiveness of his sins. (We have pastor-penitent privilege as well as self-incrimination involved if the claimant has to reveal this.)
- On some days the claimant feels like he could work but most of the time he feels like he can't.
- The claimant does some babysitting for her grandson but not on a regular basis.
- The claimant, who has a bad knee, occasionally tries to take a walk. He doesn't get far.
- The claimant suffers from bipolar disorder. Sometimes he goes out to eat with his father and mother.
- The claimant is taking an online class in hopes of becoming a computer programmer eventually.
- Claimant smokes marijuana from time to time.
- Ten years ago, the claimant was accused of abusing her infant son. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed.
- The claimant visits his sick mother on a regular basis. He helps with some of her housework.
- The claimant went bowling once since becoming disabled.
- The claimant went to the emergency room after accidentally cutting his hand. The wound was sutured and healed without incident.
- In the course of an argument, the claimant's father in law said "You're not sick. You're just lazy. What kind of man won't even try to support his wife and child?"
- The claimant recently baked a cake to help celebrate her daughter's birthday.
In ordinary civil litigation, there is discovery. In discovery, the party you're suing or who is suing you has the right to ask you questions or to ask you to produce documents in your possession that relate to the case. However, your adversary has to pose the question or make the request for some specific document or category of documents before you have an obligation to respond. There is no open ended, undefined responsibility to identify and turn over everything that might conceivably relate to the lawsuit. Here, Social Security is making an amorphous demand that the claimant identify anything which could affect their case and turn it over. If the claimant fails to identify something or thinks it's irrelevant when Social Security thinks otherwise, the claimant may be punished.
You may rightly say that Social Security couldn't possibly have intended anything as extreme as what I'm describing and you'd be right. They just never thought through what they were proposing. Their only real goal was to get Republicans in the House of Representatives off their back. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter what Social Security thought it was doing. Regulations can have unintended consequences. Anyone considering this proposal, including Social Security, has to do a worst case analysis since no one can now know how such an expansive set of regulations would be interpreted.
If Social Security does think up some limits on the duty to reveal, is it appropriate to just go immediately to final regulations without allowing the public to comment on the limitations first? Aren't those limitations so integral to the proposal that it is impossible to offer fully meaningful comments on the proposal without knowing what those limitations are?
Mar 3, 2014
Central Offices Open On Tuesday
House Budget Committee Attacks Child SSI
Labels: Childrens' Disability
AALJ Lawsuit Dismissed
Should States Take Social Security Benefits Of Kids In Foster Care To Pay For Their Care?
After Ryan Weinberger's parents died while he was in foster care, Maryland collected his Social Security survivor's benefits of more than $30,000 to help cover his state-funded living expenses.
Now Weinberger, 21, wants to persuade the General Assembly to pass legislation to stop the Department of Human Resources from confiscating benefits available to hundreds of foster children each year. ...
Some child welfare advocates are hoping Maryland will become one of the first states to block a practice that state agencies across the country quietly adopted decades ago. They want the money — projected to total $15 million in Maryland over the next five years — to be set aside for the foster children. The money could provide additional services for a child or a nest egg when he or she leaves foster care, as Weinberger did recently. ...
Labels: Payment of Benefits
Mar 2, 2014
D.C. Area Offices Closed Monday
OIG On Representation At Initial And Recon Levels
- 84, we found no evidence that the representative assisted with the claim;
- 154, the representative assisted with filing the claim, but did not assist the DDS with claim development in the disability determination; and
- 141, the representative assisted throughout the claims process