Somebody Wants To Make Sure You Can Still Get A Social Security Check
Labels: Payment of Benefits
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Your source for news affecting the U.S. Social Security Administration Copyright Charles T. Hall
Labels: Payment of Benefits
Vice President Biden on Friday told Florida seniors that Mitt Romney wants to make them pay $460 more in taxes on Social Security.
“Gov. Romney proposes significant changes, that would result in beneficiaries getting considerably less in their Social Security check in the future," he said, beginning a two-day campaign tour in Florida with a grassroots event at Century Village, a retirement community in Boca Raton. "If Gov. Romney’s tax plan goes into effect, it could mean everyone, everyone, would have to pay more taxes on the Social Security benefits they now receive. The average senior would have to pay $460 more in taxes on their benefits.” ...
The Obama campaign cited estimates from the Tax Policy Center study suggesting that taxpayers making less than $200,000 a year could lose almost 60 percent of their tax preferences under the Romney plan. From that, the campaign estimated that Social Security recipients could take a $458 hit.
For their part, Romney’s campaign has pushed back strongly against the Tax Policy Center study, with the candidate himself saying it reached “a garbage conclusion.”You can criticize Biden but until Romney says who will bear the brunt of his tax plans -- and any plan to change taxes that is revenue neutral inevitably cuts some people's taxes while raising those of others -- is Biden making an unfair accusation?
In South Africa, MasterCard has unveiled one of the world's first debit card-based payment systems for welfare benefits and social security. The new project, released for the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), will disburse government pension, disability, and public assistance payments onto a biometric debit card. Unlike normal debit cards, the South African cards require users to have their fingerprints and voices digitally analyzed by computers. In effect, they're the next generation of the EBT [Electronic Benefits Transfer] cards commonly used for food stamps in the United States.
Concern is mounting among some Senate Democrats that President Barack Obama will make a deal with Senate Republicans during the lame-duck session that would result in changes to the benefit structure of Social Security....
[According to Senator Bernie Sanders] "unless we stop it, what will happen is there will be a quote-unquote grand bargain after the election in which the White House, some Democrats will sit down with Republicans, they will move to a chained CPI."
Chained CPI sounds boringly technical but it would be a significant cut in Social Security benefits.
Chained CPI, or consumer price index, is an alternative measure of calculating inflation that would lessen the cost of living increases for Social Security payments. When the president and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) attempted to craft a deal on the debt ceiling last summer, Obama offered the chained CPI as a concession.
PELLEY: How would you change Social Security?
ROMNEY: Well, again, no change in Social Security for -- for those that are in retirement or near retirement. What I'd do with Social Security is say this: that again, people with higher incomes won't get the same high growth rate in their benefits as people of lower incomes. People who rely on Social Security should see the same kind of growth rate they've had in the past. But higher income folks would receive a little less.
PELLEY: So that in the Romney administration, in the Romney plan, there would be means testing for Social Security and for Medicare?
ROMNEY: That's correct. Higher-income people won't get as much as lower-income people. And by virtue of doing that -- and again, that's for future retirees. For -- by virtue of doing that, you are able to save these programs on a permanent basis.I don't know what he means. If he is talking merely about reducing the cost of living adjustment for higher income recipients, this makes no sense. You can't possibly "save" Social Security that way. General means testing of Title II of the Social Security Act could do the trick but would be unpopular. The ambiguity suggests that he is talking about general means testing.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and 28 other members of the 53-member Senate Democratic caucus have signed a letter opposing any cuts to Social Security as part of a deficit reduction package.
The letter forms a significant marker as Congress looks toward a possible deficit bargain in the lame-duck session after the election. It says Social Security has problems down the road, but that they should be dealt with separately from any budget deal.
Labels: Social Security Reform
A former Omaha attorney has been indicted on a federal count of Social Security fraud.
The U.S. Attorney's office for Nebraska says that 46-year-old Kim Denise Erwin-Loncke spent nearly $93,000 in Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income payments that were supposed to go to her law clients. ...
She was disbarred in November 2010 for mishandling her client's finances.
Labels: Crime Beat
Labels: Social Security Employees
Bank of America N.A. has agreed to maintain revised policies, conduct employee training and pay compensation to victims to resolve allegations that it engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of disability and receipt of public assistance ...
The terms of the settlement require Bank of America to pay $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000 to eligible mortgage loan applicants who were asked to provide a letter from their doctor to document the income they received from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). ...
“Loan applicants with disabilities should not be subjected to invasive requests for medical information from a doctor when they are applying for credit,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Sure, there are some government programs that cultivate patterns of dependency in some people. I’d put federal disability payments and unemployment insurance in this category. But, as a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.
The Social Security Administration improperly awarded disability benefits in more than 25 percent of cases examined between 2006 and 2010, according to a new Senate report -- potentially costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
The findings conclude an 18-month investigation by the chamber’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and show that roughly a quarter of the 300 randomly selected disability cases were awarded benefits “without properly addressing insufficient, contradictory and incomplete evidence.”
Each questionable decision can mean a big taxpayer expense. According to one estimate, the average lifetime disability award is $300,000.
The investigation was led by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, a medical doctor and the subcommittee’s top Republican. He said the bipartisan report shows information gathered over the past several years concludes the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs are “teetering on financial bankruptcy.”The study wasn't bipartisan. It was anything but scientific. The people doing the study had no idea what they were doing. They had no business second-guessing anyone on disability determination. However, in a sense, none of this matters. All that matters to Fox is that it's easy to convince people, particularly those who lean rightward that people take advantage of a government benefits program.
Two months before the presidential election, thousands of registered Texas voters are receiving letters asking them to verify they are not dead.
The nearly 77,000 letters, called notices of examination, were sent out by election officials to comply with a 2011 law passed by the Legislature requiring the secretary of state’s office to cross-reference the voter rolls with the Social Security Administration’s enormous death master file to determine if a voter could be deceased. ...
Texans receiving a letter have had either a strong or weak match between their voter registration information and the data in the death file. Because of the size of the death file, the Social Security Administration does not guarantee its accuracy.
A match is strong if the last name, date of birth and all nine Social Security numbers are identical. A weak match occurs when two records have either the same nine digit Social Security number and same date of birth, or the last four Social Security numbers, the same birth date and one matching name component. A voter’s registration will be canceled automatically if the match is strong, but not if the match is weak, according to the Travis County voter registrar. ...
In Harris County, the voter registrar sent out more than 9,000 letters, but, after receiving complaints from voters, decided to take no further action, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Secretary of State’s Office has threatened to cut voter registration funding to the county if it does not comply, the newspaper reported.
In sum, SSDI growth has primarily been driven by factors other than an aging workforce, health declines, and the increasing SSDI coverage of women. Loosening of program rules in the 1980s has made it more difficult for gatekeepers to judge eligibility and increased the likelihood that applicants facing rising replacement rates or declining economic opportunities will apply for SSDI benefits. A growing number of individuals being allowed onto the rolls could work in some capacity and would do so if they were not judged eligible for benefits.
Although giving broad consideration of assistive devices and workplace accommodations may be difficult to incorporate into the current disability criteria and process, SSA may be missing opportunities to move further in this direction. Officials we spoke with from an organization of vocational examiners expressed frustration with having seen young individuals who could work with minor accommodations being provided disability benefits likely throughout their working life, rather than receiving support to pursue work.
This 59 year-old claimant sustained a crush injury to his foot at work in January 2006, underwent a partial foot amputation, and received a prosthesis that should enable him to walk. The medical record documented that his wounds were healing well when the agency awarded benefits at the reconsideration level. By law, disability benefits may only be awarded to individuals with an impairment “which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.” In this case, an award was made on October 26, 2006 – only ten months after the injury. Nothing in the record suggested that the claimant would suffer from permanent restrictions.
Labels: Congressional Hearings
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall develop—
(A) performance measures to determine whether agencies are providing high-quality,timely customer service and improving service delivery to customers of the agencies; and
(B) standards to be met by agencies in order to provide high-quality customer service and improve service delivery to customers of the agencies, including—
(i) specific milestones and performance targets for continuous service improvements and efforts to modernize service delivery; and
(ii) where appropriate, target response times for telephone calls, electronic mail, mail, benefit processing, and payments.
Social Security’s future, at least in the form it has existed dating back to FDR, is now greatly imperiled. The last few years of legislative neglect -- due to a failure of national policy leadership coming just as the baby boomers have begun to retire -- have drastically harmed the program’s future financial prospects. Individuals now planning their financial futures, whether as taxpayers or as beneficiaries, should be pricing in a substantial risk that the federal government will not be able to maintain Social Security as a self-financing, stand-alone program over the long term. If Social Security financing corrections are not enacted in 2013, or at the very latest by 2015, it becomes fairly likely that they will not be enacted at all. ...
A solution enacted today would require left and right to cede roughly twice as much ground as they did in the 1983 reforms, or one side must cede still more. Each year that passes, influential players must retreat still further from their preferred policies. At some point (which we may well be past already), one side, the other, or both will reach the limit of how much they are willing to swallow. ...
As another illustration of the growing difficulty of solution, let’s look at the competing approaches of containing cost growth and raising taxes. One longstanding proposal has been to slow future benefit growth to the rate of price inflation for high earners, while allowing low-income earners the higher growth rate of wage inflation, and leaving previous beneficiaries unaffected. But already now, even if we slowed everyone’s benefit growth – from the poorest to the richest – to price inflation, we could no longer maintain solvency while holding harmless those over the age of 55. ...
Advocates on the left sometimes argue to increase the amount of Social Security wages subject to the payroll tax. The most extreme version of this proposal would be to raise the amount of wages subject to the full 12.4% payroll tax -- $110,100 today – up to infinity. Yet even this drastic measure would now fail to keep Social Security in long-term balance as well. ...
If a financing solution cannot be reached, then Social Security’s self-financing construct would need to be abandoned. Assuming the program continues to pay benefits, it would have to permanently rely on subsidies from the general fund as Medicare now does. This would be a valid policy choice, but it carries unavoidable consequences. It would mean an end to one of the program’s foundational principles: the requirement that Social Security pay its own way through a separate trust fund. It would also mean an end to FDR’s conception of an “earned benefit” program in which workers were seen to have paid for their own benefits.
Labels: Congressional Hearings
I don't know what this means.Of the amount made available by section 101 for ‘‘Social Security Administration—Limitation on Administrative Expenses’’, $483,484,000 is additional new budget authority specified for purposes of subsection 251(b)(2)(B) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
... [M]any questions have been raised about the current DI program. These include: is the concept of disability that prevailed at the start of the program in 1956 still appropriate today given advances in medicine, rehabilitation, and the workplace? Are there ways to better support individuals with disabilities to stay in the workplace? Can the decision-making process be strengthened so that, when appropriate, awards are made as early as possible and decisions on applications and appeals are made with greater accuracy and consistency?
Increasingly, experts are researching these questions and developing proposed solutions. Employers are also finding new ways to retain in the workforce those individuals with disabilities who want to work. The imminent fiscal challenge facing the DI program has made discussion of these issues both relevant and timely for the final hearing of this series.
We believe every American deserves a secure, healthy, and dignified retirement. America’s seniors have earned their Medicare and Social Security through a lifetime of hard work and personal responsibility. President Obama is committed to preserving that promise for this and future generations.
During their working years, Americans contribute to Social Security in exchange for a promise that they will receive an income in retirement. Unlike those in the other party, we will find a solution to protect Social Security for future generations. We will block Republican efforts to subject Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market through privatization. We reject approaches that insist that cutting benefits is the only answer. President Obama will also make it easier for Americans to save on their own for retirement and prepare for unforeseen expenses by participating in retirement accounts at work. ...
In short, Democrats believe that Social Security and Medicare must be kept strong for seniors, people with disabilities, and future generations. Our opponents have shown a shocking willingness to gut these programs to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest, and we fundamentally reject that approach.
Labels: Campaign 2012