2017 Roundup

December 27, 2017

The end of the year always makes me contemplate the year as a whole.  Hearing waits still seem endless, but I am buoyed by the recent initiative to have pre-hearing conferences, which allow me to request a meeting to present a client’s case for disability in an effort to obtain a decision without a hearing.

As always, I am happy that so many attorneys, financial planners and doctors trust me to such a degree that they send their clients or patients to me.  Of course, the greatest honor is when they trust me with their friends and family members.

I am grateful that Tiffany has continued to soldier on with me despite the frequent frustrations with a system as large and complex as the Social Security Administration has become.

And once again, I think of the many colleagues who area always willing to lend a hand to me with both quick questions and the more difficult ones.

I am hoping that 2018 brings similar joys to me and many favorable decisions for my clients!  Happy (Almost) New Year!

For those of you that don’t keep up with the press releases from SSA:

In October of each year, the Social Security Administration announces adjustments that take effect the following January that are based on the increase in average wages. Based on the wage data Social Security had at the time of the October 13, 2017, announcement, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) was to increase to $128,700 in 2018, from $127,200 in 2017. The new amount for 2018, based on updated wage data reported to Social Security, is $128,400.

This lower taxable maximum amount is due to corrected W2s provided to Social Security in late October 2017 by a national payroll service provider. Approximately 500,000 corrections for W2s from 2016 resulted in changes for three items based on the national average wage: the 2018 taxable maximum, primary insurance amount bend points–figures used in the computation of Social Security benefits–and family maximum bend points. No other items based on national average wages were affected.

The change to the taxable maximum does not take effect until January 2018, and the updated bend points in the benefit computation only apply to people who initially become eligible for Social Security benefits in calendar year 2018. This does not affect current beneficiaries.

For more information about the updated 2018 taxable maximum amount, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/COLA/cbb.html. Additional information about the new 2018 bend points may be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/COLA/Benefits.html and www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/COLA/bendpoints.html.

SSA Hold Times

December 6, 2017

In other discouraging news, the hold time to talk to someone at the Social Security Administration has risen from 3 minutes in 2010 to over 16 minutes in 2017.

On the upside, they do let you leave a call back number and are remarkably reliable about returning a call.

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