All posts by John Pennington

Social Security Eliminates Overpayment Burden for Social Security Beneficiaries

Automatic Overpayment Recovery Rate Reduced to 10 Percent

The Social Security Administration announced it will decrease the default overpayment withholding rate for Social Security beneficiaries to ten percent (or $10, whichever is greater) from 100 percent, significantly reducing financial hardship on people with overpayments.

“Social Security is taking a critically important step towards our goal of ensuring our overpayment policies are fair, equitable, and do not unduly harm anyone,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security. “It’s unconscionable that someone would find themselves facing homelessness or unable to pay bills, because Social Security withheld their entire payment for recovery of an overpayment.”

 

Social Security to Remove Barriers to Accessing SSI Payments

Today, the Social Security Administration published a final rule, “Omitting Food from In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) Calculations.” The final rule announces the first of several updates to the agency’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regulations that will help people receiving and applying for SSI.

SSI benefits help pay for basic needs like rent, food, clothing, and medicine. People applying for and receiving SSI must meet eligibility requirements, including income and resource limits. Under our old rules, ISM includes food, shelter, or both a person receives – the agency counts ISM as unearned income, which may affect a person’s eligibility or reduce their payment amount.

Under the new final rule, beginning September 30, 2024, the agency will no longer include food in ISM calculations. The new policy removes a critical barrier for SSI eligibility due to an applicant’s or recipient’s receipt of informal food assistance from friends, family, and community networks of support. The new policy further helps in several important ways: the change is easier to understand and use by applicants, recipients, and agency employees; applicants and recipients have less information to report about food assistance received from family and friends, removing a significant source of burden; reducing month-to-month variability in payment amounts will improve payment accuracy; and the agency will see administrative savings because less time will be spent administering food ISM.

Martin J. O’Malley Sworn in as Commissioner of Social Security Administration

Martin J. O’Malley was sworn in by Senator Ben Cardin as Commissioner of Social Security to a term that expires on January 19, 2025. A lifelong public servant, Commissioner O’Malley brings a vast amount of experience to the position. He served as Governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015, following two terms as Mayor of the City of Baltimore. Prior to being elected Mayor, he served as a member of the Baltimore City Council from 1991 to 1999 and Assistant States Attorney for the City of Baltimore before that. Commissioner O’Malley is a pioneer in using performance-management and customer service technologies in government and has written extensively about how to govern for better results in the Information Age by measuring the outputs of government on a real-time basis.