Politicians have been debating Paid Family Leave for many years.  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is working with Ivanka Trump to come up with a paid leave policy that Republicans can vote for. The conservative argument against paid family leave in the past has been Republicans vehemently oppose any mandate on employers or higher taxes.

Rubio doesn’t want the federal government to pay for paid family leave, but rather require individuals to withdraw from their Social Security benefits whenever they need to take time off for a new baby or other family related-matters. This would have the adverse effect of requiring individuals to delay their retirement age.

As Politico puts it, this would mean that someone who would begin receiving their full Social Security benefits when they turn 67 years old but wants to take six weeks of paid leave wouldn’t draw Social Security benefits until six weeks after their 67th birthday.

The full article is here:



I always love baby name lists.  SSA recently provided a list of the top names for boys and girls over the past 100 years.

Spoiler:  Mary and James are number one.

Tracy is not anywhere on the list.  Tiffany slid in at number 98.


Vox had a great piece about Social Security Disability benefits.  It talks about how many politicians haven’t had much, if any, interaction with individuals who are receiving disability benefits.


Recently the.Social Security Advisory Board (board) is releasing the culmination of two years’ work pertaining to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) representative payee (rep payee) program. The report, Improving Social Security’s Representative Payee Programoutlines concrete steps to protect vulnerable Social Security beneficiaries and recipients.

The report includes recommendations for Congress, the Office of Management and Budget and SSA to strengthen the current administrative process, create better monitoring and explore comprehensive, government-wide coordination and cross-agency reform of rep-payee processes. A link to these recommendations may be found here.

To accompany the report, an interactive chart collection has been published on the board’s website. The chart collection highlights data related to the administration of the program and emphasizes the growing need for rep payees in the future.

The board is proud of its efforts to advance the discussion around these vital programs. If you or your organization would like to discuss the report, please contact the board.


Benefits for Children

February 14, 2018

Children whose parent (and in some cases, grandparent or stepparent) receives SSDI can be eligible for auxiliary benefits through the disabled worker. In 2016, there were 1,493,476 children under 18 receiving such benefits, along with 50,976 students aged 18-19 and 122,202 disabled adult children of disabled workers.

If a child is disabled and never worked, he or she may receive SSI benefits independently of the parent beginning at age 18.  However, if a parent (or in some cases, grandparent or stepparent) becomes disabled, retires under the the Social Security system or dies, the child may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits on that individual’s earnings record.

Last week, I provided information on disability applications dropping since 2010.  Additional information suggests that the number of disability recipients has also decreased.  There has been a steady decrease in people receiving SSDI disabled worker benefits since third quarter of 2015; the number of SSI recipients under age 65 reached its highest point in 2013 and has decreased each year since. Reasons for this include disabled workers reaching full retirement age and being switched to Social Security old-age benefits, an increased number of Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) and SSI redeterminations, fewer applications, and of course the increased time it takes to receive a disability determination.

The decrease in SSDI claimants and bene ciaries has extended the predicted solvency of the SSDI trust fund. The 2017 Trustees’ Report estimates that the trust fund will pay all benefits until 2028, five years longer than predicted in the 2016 report. After 2028, the trust fund could pay 93% of bene ts. However, in all situations in the past where a Social Security trust fund faced insolvency, Congress took action to maintain SSA’s ability to pay all bene ts that were due.


Applications for SSI disability benefits and SSDI disabled worker benefits have decreased each year since a peak in 2010. Although statistics about 2017’s SSI applications will not be available until late next year, it appears that the decline continued for SSDI applications in 2017. If people apply for SSDI disabled worker benefits at the same rate in December 2017 as they did throughout the rest of the year, there will have been about 2.17 million initial applications in 2017. This is a 6.4% decrease from 2016, and a 26% decrease from the peak in 2010. Since December typically sees fewer applications than other months, the decline is likely even more pronounced.

The decrease in requests for hearings is even more pronounced than the decline in initial applications. There were 698,579 requests for ALJ hearing in Fiscal Year 2016 and 620,977 in Fiscal Year 2017. Despite this 11% drop, the number of cases pending decreased by less than 6% that year. The decline in hearing requests looks to be continuing into Fiscal Year 2018. Hearing requests were 7.5% lower in the first two months of the current fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2017, than over the same period the year before.

Some of the decrease in applications may be due to baby boomers aging from disability-prone years to eligibility for full retirement benefits. Low unemployment may also make some employers more willing to accommodate workers with disabilities. These factors may also play into why some claimants choose not to appeal denials, though there are undoubtedly other factors, including the long wait times for ALJ hearings.

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