Category Archives: Social Security

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.

Social Security Delays – Longest in History

“For the first time in history, more than 1 million people are waiting on the Social Security Administration to process their initial disability claim,” said Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., chair of the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, at a hearing last week.

It currently takes 220 days for claims to be decided, on average, which is more than 100 days longer than it did in 2019, Ferguson said. That is also more than 150 days longer than the Social Security Administration’s standard for minimum level of performance, he said.

Social Security Announces 3.2 Percent Benefit Increase for 2024

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 71 million Americans will increase 3.2 percent in 2024, the Social Security Administration announced today. On average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month starting in January. More than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries will see the 3.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January 2024. Increased payments to approximately 7.5 million people receiving SSI will begin on December 29, 2023. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $168,600 from $160,200.

Compassionate Allowances Expanded

Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 12 new Compassionate Allowances conditions: 1p36 Deletion Syndrome, Anaplastic Ependymoma, Calciphylaxis, Cholangiocarcinoma, FOXG1 Syndrome, Leber Congenital Amaurosis, Metastatic Endometrial Adenocarcinoma, Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration, Pineoblastoma – Childhood, Primary Omental Cancer, Sarcomatoid Carcinoma of the Lung – Stages II-IV, and Trisomy 9.

The Compassionate Allowances program quickly identifies claims where the applicant’s medical 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. To date, nearly 900,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this accelerated, policy-compliant disability process, which now includes a total of 278 conditions.

When Should I Take My Social Security Retirement

Retirement is not one-size-fits-all. It can mean different things to different people. Perhaps you have not applied for Social Security retirement benefits because you’re still working or are delaying applying so you can get the higher benefit. However, you need to know that if you are age 70 or older, you should go ahead apply now for the benefits you are owed. Your benefits will not increase once you turn 70, even if you still are working and paying Social Security tax.

Social Security Celebrates Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. It is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women. Social Security provides vital benefits and financial protection for women.

Nearly 55% of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. Today, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history.

Women also have longer average life expectancies than men and tend to live more years in retirement. This means women have a greater chance of exhausting other sources of income. It’s important for women to plan early and wisely for retirement.

Our online booklet, Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know found at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf, provides detailed information about how life events can affect a woman’s Social Security retirement benefits. These events may include marriage, death of a spouse, divorce, self-employment, and other life or career changes.

Social Security Announces 8.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2023

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 8.7 percent in 2023, the Social Security Administration announced today. On average, Social Security benefits will increase by more than $140 per month starting in January.

The 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 65 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2023. Increased payments to more than 7 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2022.

New Compassionate Allowances

Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 12 new Compassionate Allowances conditions. The Compassionate Allowances program quickly 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.

For more information on the 12 new conditions, please visit www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/2022/#8-2022-1