A bill was recently introduced in the House of Representation called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act (H.R. 4280).

The bill was introduced September 11, 2019 by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3) and Rep. Elisa Slotkin (D-MI-8). It currently has 23 cosponsors (including Rep. Slotkin). The SSI Restoration Act would update SSI eligibility criteria, some of which have not been updated since 1972. The SSI Restoration Act would increase the resource limit to $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a married couple, change the index that is used to calculate the annual Cost-of-Living- Adjustment (COLA) to the CPI-E, repeal the in- kind support and maintenance (ISM) provision, eliminate the marriage penalty, increase the general income exclusion from $20/month to $123/month, and increase the earned income exclusion from $65/month to $399/month. The dollar figures that were increased would also be annually adjusted for inflation. NOSSCR’s government affairs team will prioritize advocacy on getting additional cosponsors for this bill, as well as getting a Senate companion bill introduced.

I am very encouraged by a new bill proposed in Senate:  Stop the Wait Act (H.R. 4386 and S. 2496).

This bill would eliminate the five month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits immediately and gradually phase out the additional 24-month waiting period for Medicare coverage for SSDI beneficiaries. The lead sponsor in the Senate is Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and the lead sponsors in the House of Representatives are Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1). The Senate bill has five additional cosponsors at the time this article was written, and the House bill has 34.

 

The Social Security Administration provides expedited processing of disability claims filed by veterans who have a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T).

What do I need to know about the Veterans Affairs and Social Security programs?

Both Social Security and Veterans Affairs pay disability benefits to qualifying people, but their programs, processes, and criteria for receiving benefits are different. A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100 percent P&T doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment that’s expected to last at least one year or to result in death. The impairment must be so severe that the person would be unable to perform any substantial work.

NOTE: Receiving Veterans Affairs compensation won’t affect your Social Security benefits.

What should I do to receive expedited processing of my Social Security disability application?

If you’re a disabled veteran rated 100 percent P&T, you must:

• Identify yourself as a “veteran rated 100 percent P and T” when you apply for benefits. If you apply in person or over the phone, tell the Social Security representative that you are a veteran rated 100 percent Pand T. If you apply online, enter “Veteran 100% P&T” in the “Remarks” section of the application; and

• Provide Social Security with your Veterans Affairs notification letter which verifies your rating.

How will Social Security expedite my disability claim?

After Social Security identifies you as a veteran rated 100 percent P&T, we’ll treat your claim as a high priority workload and rush it through the application process in our field offices, our state Disability Determination Services, and the various levels of appeals.

Earlier this summer, SSA announced the additional of several new medical impairments to the list of Compassionate Allowances.

Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, announced four new Compassionate Allowances conditions: CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder, Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, Primary Peritoneal Cancer, and Richter Syndrome. Compassionate Allowances is a program to quickly identify severe diseases and medical conditions that meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits.

“Social Security’s highest priority is to serve the public and we are committed to ensuring Americans with disabilities receive the benefits they are eligible for,” said Commissioner Saul. “For over a decade, our Compassionate Allowances program has helped us accelerate the disability process for people who are likely to get approved for benefits due to the severity of their condition.”

The Compassionate Allowances program identifies claims where the applicant’s condition or disease clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. Due to the severe nature of many of these conditions, these claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone. The list has grown to a total of 237 conditions, including certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. To date, more than 600,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this fast-track policy-compliant disability process.

The agency incorporates leading technology to identify potential Compassionate Allowances and make quick decisions. When a person applies for disability benefits, Social Security must obtain medical records in order to make an accurate determination. Social Security’s Health IT brings the speed and efficiency of electronic medical records to the disability determination process. With electronic records transmission, Social Security is able to quickly obtain a claimant’s medical information, review it, and make a determination faster than ever before.

For more information about the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowances conditions, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

From CNBC:

When it comes to the forecast for your Social Security benefits in 2020, there’s good news and bad news.

Your Social Security checks are poised to grow next year; however, the annual increase likely won’t be as much as you got in 2019.

That’s according to The Senior Citizens League, which on Thursday released its latest estimate for the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2020.

The nonpartisan group estimates that beneficiaries will get a 1.6% boost in 2020, down from a 2.8% increase in 2019.

That would raise the average retiree benefit of $1,460 by about $23.40 per month, compared with $40.90 this year.

The Social Security Administration is expected to announce the cost-of-living adjustment for 2020 in October.

A 1.6% increase would be the lowest since 2017, the organization said. Social Security cost-of-living adjustments have averaged 1.4% in the past decade.

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