Monthly Archives: October 2011

Adult Baby Back in the News After Cleared of Wrongdoing

You may recall the bizarre story a few months ago about a California man, 30-year-old Stanley Thorton, whose Social Security disability benefits case caused a bit of a controversy. Thorton appeared on the National Geographic Channel show Taboo for his life as an “adult baby.” 350-pound Thorton spends part of everyday role playing as a baby, including sleeping in a crib and drinking from a baby bottle. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn saw Thorton on TV earlier this year and asked the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to investigate the man’s eligibility for disability benefits. Thorton received about $860 a month in disability benefits. The SSA recently cleared Thorton and found that his disability was ongoing. Feeling vindicated, Thorton took to the web, posting his thoughts in lengthy discourses on his blog. He noted that he receives disability benefits not for his life as an adult baby, but for other maladies such…
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Cain’s Alternative to Social Security – Look to Chile

Having shot into the spotlight after winning the Florida Republican primary, Herman Cain is now on center stage with Mitt Romney as the frontrunners to be the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. His thoughts on Social Security are taking shape, and Cain is holding up Chile as the model for an alternative to our system here in the United States. One problem, though, is that many Chileans don’t like their system. Chile switched from a system like ours 30 years ago to one where workers have to contribute 10 percent of their paychecks to private pension plans. They have five investment funds to pick from when investing their money, with the options ranging from safe bonds to risky stocks. The investment accounts belong to each person, so it passes to his or her heirs upon death. Chileans complain about the fees that they have to pay – as high as 15…
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Social Security Benefits to Rise After First Pause Ever

Recipients of Social Security retirement benefits and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits are set to receive news that they have not heard for two years – their benefit levels will be going up. A yearly increase in benefits had been the norm, at least from 1975 until 2010. 2010 and 2011 were the first consecutive years for which there was no cost of living adjustment (“COLA”). More details on the change are available from a Tulsa SSI attorney. The lack of increase stems from the way that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) measures the cost of living. It uses the consumer price index to measure inflation by looking at the costs of consumer goods. Social Security benefits cannot, by law, go down, so when the consumer price index goes down or stays flat, benefits stay the same. The index actually fell in 2010, and prices did not exceed their previous…
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Social Security Leaks SSN Numbers, Doesn’t Tell Victims

The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) never intended for our Social Security number to become our de facto identification number, but that is what it has become since the SSA first started issuing them in 1935. Some of us have them on our driver’s licenses, we need them when we start jobs, and we use them when we apply for credit. Given the importance that our Social Security numbers have today, most of us go through great pains to protect them. The SSA, on the other hand, appears less concerned. Investigative journalists discovered that the SSA inadvertently releases 14,000 Social Security numbers, names and dates of birth every year. Worse yet, they do not even inform those Americans whose information it releases. The SSA leaks the information when it publishes its Death Master File, which tracks Americans who die each year. Sometimes SSA staff enters this information incorrectly, which results in…
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