Monthly Archives: March 2012

1 Year Before Electronic Social Security Benefits Take Over

If you receive Social Security benefits of any sort (whether SSDI disability benefits, SSI benefits, or retirement benefits), you have less than a year left to make the switch to receiving them electronically. Effective March 1, 2013, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) will require all beneficiaries to receive benefits electronically. For recent beneficiaries, you already receive your benefits electronically, since the SSA has required it of new beneficiaries since May 1, 2011. For those who started receiving their benefits before that day and have continued to opt for a paper check, you have two options to receive your benefits electronically – direct deposit into your bank account or a payment card that functions like a debit card. Both methods eliminate the chances of your check being delayed or lost. They will also help the SSA save $1 billion over the next decade, according to government analysts. Social Security Benefits and…
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Number of SSDI Applicants, Beneficiaries Highest Ever

As scientists and statisticians will tell you, correlation does not imply causation, a phrase that means that just because two things occur together, we cannot automatically conclude that one thing caused the other. Keep the phrase in mind as politicians and policymakers debate the various ways we can account for the rapid growth in Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits in recent years. The problem with this issue lies in deciding how to frame it. What factors are responsible for the growth in disability beneficiaries? Google search data indicates that, in the last several years, a search for “social security disability” has jumped 36 percent. This coincides with other jumps concerning Social Security disability benefits. From 1970 to the early 1990s, the number of disability beneficiaries grew from two million to four million. The past 20 years has seen more than a doubling of that number, as we near 10…
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Are SSDI Benefits Decisions Too Arbitrary?

Last week, the Congressional subcommittee that controls Social Security spending – the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee – held an important hearing on improving the Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) process. The hearing was a part of a series that aims to improve the process both for applicants and the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Some of the more popular complaints we hear from SSDI applicants were the subject of the hearing. For example, the variation in SSDI examiners’ rulings has been problematic – several studies and media reports have shown that whether you receive SSDI benefits can depend a great deal on what judge hears your case. At the hearing, a policy analyst discussed how the standard deviation of approval rates is six percentage points. This is a relatively large number, meaning that it is highly likely that SSDI applicants would receive a different result if their case…
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Medicare, Medicaid Options for Disabled Workers

Monday’s post discussed how most people who receive Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits are automatically eligible to receive Medicaid coverage. On Wednesday, we discussed how Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) beneficiaries can begin receiving Medicare coverage after waiting for 24 months. There are other cases that fall outside these lines, and today we discuss a few of those situations. Can I receive SSI benefits and Medicare? While SSI benefits usually lead to automatic Medicaid eligibility, Medicare is also a possibility. Medicare coverage is automatic if you are over the age of 65. If you are not, you can still qualify for Medicare if you fall under one of the other eligibility categories, which include the following: You receive SSDI benefits and waited 24 months after their start If you receive SSDI benefits, there is little or no wait period if you suffer from Lou Gehrig’s disease or kidney failure, or…
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