The Social Security Administration's solvency or lack thereof is frequently in the news here in Wisconsin. It has been forecast that the administration's trust fund will be exhausted sometime in the 2030s, which means that by that time taxes will need to be raised to fund the program or benefits will need to be cut. Politicians argue back and forth about what to do about this issue, most often focusing on the retirement benefits that are most commonly associated with Social Security.
As many people in Wisconsin are aware, earlier in March the federal government announced budget cuts across the board. This has been called the "sequester," and it has hit a number of areas of government--from education to agriculture to the criminal justice system.
Some people here in Milwaukee may have heard the news last week that the number of unemployed people with disabilities has recently surged upward. The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that 2 percent more disabled people sought unemployment benefits in January 2013 compared to January 2012.
Wisconsin residents may have heard that the Social Security Administration added 35 new conditions to its Compassionate Allowances program. The diseases and conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list qualify disability insurance applications for an expedited process. While most Social Security disability insurance claims take months, or even years, to process, Compassionate Allowances can be processed in a matter of days.
There are many misconceptions about Social Security Disability benefits and how to get them. One of the most common misconceptions currently is that disability benefits are harder than ever to receive. This is simply not true.
A claimant may file an application for Social Security Disability benefits at any time after their disability begins, but the longer the claimant waits to file, the harder it can be to secure benefits. With the help of an attorney however, that process becomes much easier and the likelihood of success increases.
Wisconsin residents who receive Social Security benefits may have heard that today the government announced that recipients will receive small raises beginning in January. The 1.7 percent increase is a cost-of-living adjustment and it will average out to about $19 in monthly income per Social Security recipient.
For those in Wisconsin who have ever been in need of Social Security disability benefits, it must make your blood boil when you read news stories about SSDI fraud--people who do not deserve these benefits somehow making their way through the tedious application process. Many of us wonder how legitimate claims can be so often denied while fraudulent claims are approved.
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.
The process by which Social Security disability benefits are secured can be long and frustrating, requiring several levels of appeals. With a significant number of claims denied at the initial and reconsideration level, the best opportunity for an award of benefits is at Hearing Level before an Administrative Law Judges.