Jul 5, 2018

Social Security Administration Fairness Act

     Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced the "Social Security Administration Fairness Act." Here are the chief provisions of Sanders' proposed Act:
  • Automatic appropriation to the Social Security Administration of an amount equal to 1.5 percent of expected annual benefits and payments administered by SSA to pay for all administrative costs incurred by SSA in fiscal years 2019 and thereafter. 
  • Eliminate the 5-month waiting period for Social Security disabled worker benefits and disabled surviving spouse benefits.
  • Eliminate the 24-month waiting period for Medicare coverage for individuals who have become entitled for Social Security disability benefits. 
  • Create a temporary moratorium on the consolidation of SSA field offices and hearings offices.
      Sanders asked the Office of the Chief Actuary at Social Security to determine what effects the proposed Act would have on the Social Security Trust Funds if enacted. The actuaries found that the proposal would not change the exhaustion date of the combined Trust Funds. That date would stay at 2034.
     This can't get passed until there's a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress. That's unlikely to be the case next year but it's not out of the question. Whenever Democrats get the majority on both Houses of Congress, I predict there will be Social Security legislation. Sanders' proposal could easily be part of it. It's not that costly.
     While we're talking about Senator Sanders, he was able to get new staffers for Social Security field offices in Vermont.

16 comments:

Dan Smith said...

Any of my clients who are bearing the brunt of the five month wait for title II benefits or 24 month wait for Medicare will soon hear about this proposed reform.

Anonymous said...

If I calculated the correct "total benefits paid" for FY 2017 from this site https://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/payment.html, then SSA would have gotten just over $14 bil in FY 17 and a bit more in FY 18. That's almost $2 bil more than the current budget (just over $12 bil) and might just be a sufficient amount to give SSA the employees, upgraded IT/tech, and decent space it so desperately needs to move all those billions of benefits, handle the millions of calls and online transactions, and hold the hundreds of thousands (over half a million!) of hearings at OHO each year.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for this, but it would be hugely costly as far as Medicare expenditures are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Fair is a place where they judge pigs.

Anonymous said...

Why delay consolidation of offices?

Wasted taxpayer dollars spent on having a hearings office and a field office on separate floors in a federal building with each of them half empty because of telework. The agency has already dragged this out for years.

Isn't it about time to let the taxpayer have a one stop shop that's run efficiently instead of gee, it's not my job. That's in another office in another building.

Anonymous said...

255

I have been around this Agency for a long time and I can tell you that there is a historical reason for the separation and a reason why they should not consolidate. The DO works hand in hand with the DSS. OHO/ODAR/OHA/BHA whatever (there's another acronym that I can't remember at the moment) reviews the DSS decisions de novo. When you have both component's co-located, the fire wall gets even more thinner than it is now to the point of being inappropriate. But I forget, we don't need no stinking due process.

Anonymous said...

To be honest the percent should be based on each of the trust funds. It doesn't cost the same for the agency to process a Disability claim as it does a Retirement claim.

Anonymous said...

@11:27

Not to mention that DDS and the DO get so many things wrong that it's necessary to have legally trained folks at OHO to fix the parade of errors done by the folks at DDS and the DO's. They should be kept separate or the backlog will skyrocket even more. But OHO should consolidate its offices and get rid of the excess management jobs. No need for a HOD and so many group supervisors at OHO when so many people are teleworking so often. Makes one wonder what exactly the HOD and group supervisors are doing all day.

Anonymous said...

I want to take "FAIRNESS" to a whole new level. For example when I first qualified for Medicare (24 months after I was found to be disabled) I could NOT afford it, and so I used a free care program in the state in which I live (I am lucky I live in a Liberal state). Now many many years later I could swing the premium (just barely), except that they tack a 10% penalty on for every year you did not buy it.....With that penalty, again I CANNOT AFFORD IT! That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. I am talking about part B (part A is free but useless in most cases) and Part D uses another formula calculated monthly. With a reasonable explanation the fee should be waived. The explanation I already provided is true and innocent (I was not trying to cheat the system)...They do this to prevent healthy people from only buying it once they get sick. That might make some sense for those who turn 65, but I am on SSDI and obviously did not get it because I could not afford it.. I would be getting MUCH better health care now if I could get it at the regular price; community health centers are fine, but the one I frequent is too far away and they do not always have the best specialists. I will not be able to get Medicare at the regular price until I qualify for it for a different reason, and that would be when I turn 65 assuming I live that long and that Medicare still exists. I also have to keep worrying about that 21% cut coming to my SSDI check which would drive me into homelessness for sure. I actually have a fairly stable rent which will never go up by very much year to year, but this apartment is unique and there is no other situation I can get into that would be affordable. I may be disabled, but my brother is not and he is an Attorney and so I trust him when he tells me these things.
And while the Democrats attention is focused on healthy people crossing the border illegally (health enough to swim and scale a fence) I feel like no one is representing me and things for this US citizen are getting worse. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in helping people…but all people and where is my help all of these years?
Senator Sanders has a great idea, but if any of you can contact him, please tell him about the unfair penalty. Thank for listening!

Anonymous said...

RE DO making errors--OHO may do well on medical decisions but many judges don't know how to figure out a TWP. Someone works 2 years after their alleged onset date at way over SGA and then files. Goes to hearing and ALJ says the work months are just TWP, even though TWP can't begin until the person actually files the claims. Send it back to OHA to review with nothing ever changing. So we all could do better I suppose.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:09
Did you ever look to see if you qualify for the slmb program to pay for Medicare premiums?

Anonymous said...

My HOD works part time, it seems, but with the NTEU and AFGE contracts mor illegally voided under the new EOs, there's gonna be a blood bath of fired SCTs, staff attorneys, and the socially unpopular, starting Monday. That will keep management busy for a while.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:15am, Fear mongering over the EO's by NTEU and AFGE are overblown to drive membership. After all, someone has to pay for their trip to the Vegas convention.

The Agency has 60,000 employees and a hiring freeze. While most managers would like to hire their remaining family members they haven't already hired we simply can't. Besides, we're closing in on the end of the FY.

If you're already on a Performance Plan or not making your numbers then I'd truly be concerned.

Anonymous said...

This is going nowhere. The unions were just gutted with rumor that another Executive Order is on the way making Lucia applicable to all ALJ's. Staff already under file, and judges soon.

Anonymous said...

RE: Comment
Anonymous said...

@ 4:09
Did you ever look to see if you qualify for the slmb program to pay for Medicare premiums?

7:00 AM, July 07, 2018
Thanks, but I am over the limit in monthly SSDI income to qualify.

Anonymous said...

The sky is falling and Hill-Burton/Carlyle group is just waiting to catch it.