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.
Recently, we were able to secure Social Security Disability benefits for our client with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS. Based on the medical records and a written submission, benefits were awarded without the need for a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge.
Starting January 2012, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) will increase by a modest 3.6 percent due to an increase in the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), the first increase to COLA since 2009. The increase is good news for Wisconsin residents. According to the Social Security Administration, as of Dec. 2010, over 107,000 Wisconsin residents received some form of Social Security assistance.
The national debt is in the news a lot these days and a part of the conversation is how to lower federal spending by adjusting Social Security programs including Social Security Disability Income. Any changes in Social Security programs would disproportionately affect rural areas of Wisconsin because rural areas across the United States generally depend more on Social Security benefits than urban areas like Milwaukee.
We all want to be responsible for our own livelihoods, but life can become difficult when a disability prevents someone from achieving that goal. What can be even more stressful is a long and drawn out Social Security Disability Income application process. Sometimes, folks who go through the application process for disability benefits are rejected and that can make a terrible situation feel even worse. One man's episode of frustration may now threaten his disability benefits.
The debt deal created and signed into law at the beginning of the week, will not cap the Social Security Administration's ability to conduct continuing eligibility reviews on those who received Social Security Disability Insurance. The debt deal created an exemption to spending caps in order to allow the agency to conduct more reviews and an increased number of reviews may lead to cost savings for the agency.
Over the next two years Social Security Disability Income beneficiaries and those receiving other federal benefits including Social Security will receive their benefits checks by electronic means. The United States Department of Treasury will no longer issue paper Social Security checks and will issue benefits through its Go Direct program. Through Social Security's Go Direct program, beneficiaries will receive their benefits either by direct deposit or on a prepaid debt card.
Over the last year around 8.2 million people collected disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Income program. The total number of benefits collected was around $115 billion. The number of people receiving benefits has increased over the last ten years from 5 million. The increase in the number of people who receive Social Security Disability benefits is attributed to the harsh economy and the rising number of baby boomers who are no longer able to work because of disability.
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.
The growing backlog of Social Security Disability claims and the long time period to process claims have attributed to an increasing number of violent threats against judges who hear Social Security disability cases. Members of Congress heard about the rising number of threats from a Senate subcommittee field hearing on Monday.