Social Security, Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits will increase in 2015 due to a 1.7% Cost of Living Adjustment. This translates to a monthly increase of approximately $12-19 for SSI and SSDI recipients. Individuals collecting SSI will see the increase begin on December 31, 2014 while other Social Security recipients will see the increase in their January 2015 checks.
All sorts of government programs, from the National Parks to National Monuments, to military bases, are closing due to the government shutdown. As the government begins to close its doors for various services and projects, many disabled individuals are left wondering if they will continue to receive their Social Security disability checks, and for those still waiting for benefits they are left wondering what will happen to their case.
Anyone who has applied for Social Security disability benefits in recent years here in Milwaukee knows that the wait can be long and the process, arduous. As the Social Security Administration continues to grapple with a record-breaking caseload, many disabled Wisconsin workers who are deserving of benefits are instead faced with denials and delays.
During an application for Social Security Disability benefits, family and friends can lend a helping hand by providing supporting evidence at various stages. The first is completing a Function Report - Adult - Third Party. This is a form sent by Social Security asking that someone other than the claimant but familiar with them to describe the claimant's disability, daily life activities and provide any other supporting information.
Government benefits will be easier to obtain later this summer for certain disabling medical conditions. Starting in August, Social Security will add more than 50 compassionate allowances to its fast-track processing system.
We are still discussing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision about the Privacy Act and its waiver of sovereign immunity. The plaintiff sued a handful of federal agencies when his HIV status was made public; the agencies had shared information about him, including his application for Social Security disability benefits. In the majority opinion, the court focused on the act allowing individuals to file civil actions if they suffered "actual damages" because of an agency's violation.
The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in a Privacy Act case has caused a stir among consumer advocates and in legal circles. The plaintiff accused the Federal Aviation Administration, the Social Security Administration and the United States Department of Transportation of violating the Privacy Act when the agencies shared information about his Social Security long-term disability benefits. As we said in our last post, the majority decision turned on the Privacy Act's use of the term "actual damages."
According to a new report created by the Brooking's Institution's Hamilton Project and the Center for American Progress, employers should be given incentives to retain disabled workers in order to avoid what has been called an unsustainable growth of people on Social Security disability income.