October 12, 2023
Social Security Beneficiaries Will See Smaller COLA Increase in 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."
Ready the full press release from SSA.
September 25, 2023
Medicaid Expansion to Launch December 1 in North Carolina
Eligible individuals can enroll in North Carolina's Medicaid expansion program, NC Health Works, starting December 1, 2023.
Read more about plans and eligibility from North Carolina Justice Center.
August 25, 2023
SSA No Long Accepting Faxed Applications
August 14, 2023
Social Security Administration Expedites Decisions for People with Severe Disabilities
"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.
'The Social Security Administration remains committed to reducing barriers and ensuring people who are eligible for benefits receive them,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi. “Our Compassionate Allowances program allows us to reinforce that commitment by expediting the disability application process for people with the most severe disabilities.'
When a person applies for disability benefits, Social Security must obtain medical records in order to make an accurate determination. The agency incorporates leading technology to identify potential Compassionate Allowances cases and make quick decisions. 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 can quickly obtain a claimant's medical information, review it, and make a faster determination.
For more information about the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowances conditions, please visit www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances.
To learn more about Social Security's Health IT program, please visit www.ssa.gov/hit.
People may apply online for disability benefits by visiting www.ssa.gov.
To create a my Social Security account, please visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount."
Read the full press release from SSA.
August 10, 2023
From NOSSCR: SSA Announces First Phase of Online SSI Applications
"...SSA is embarking on a multi-year effort to simplify the SSI application process, wherein applicants could apply online without the need to visit a field office. SSA will also prepopulate some information from its records, reducing the burden on claimants. The online application will be 'iSSI' and it will be part of the 'iClaim' system already used for Title II SSDI applications.
NOSSCR is supportive of SSA's efforts to streamline the process for our members' most vulnerable claimants, ensuring access to life-saving benefits and reducing administrative time and costs."
August 3, 2023
NOSSCR Endorses President Biden's Intent to Nominate Martin O'Malley as SSA Commissioner
"NOSSCR is pleased with the news of President Biden's intent to nominate former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley to serve as Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
The disability claims and appeals process must utilize all the modern tools available to ensure timely, accurate, and efficient decisions. With a track record of data-based decision-making, Governor O'Malley is an ideal nominee to implement solutions reforming the agency's many antiquated processes and systems. Relying on current job information in adjudicating cases, safeguarding claimant data, and maximizing the use of electronic medical records are of the utmost importance in leading the Social Security Administration forward.
Governor O'Malley's lifetime of public service makes NOSSCR optimistic that he will lead the agency into the modern era, fully reopen field offices, enhance customer service, and reduce unnecessary and costly delays for claimants while supporting a cost-of-living based increase in the attorney fee cap so that our members can continue their vital work. NOSSCR looks forward to working with Governor O'Malley on these and other issues important to our membership and the claimants they serve."
The National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) is the largest community of advocates for Social Security claimants in the nation. NOSSCR and its members advocate for improvements in Social Security disability programs and work to ensure fair representation for all claimants. To learn more, visit https://nosscr.org."
Read NOSSCR's press release regarding the nomination here.
Social Security Benefits Will Increase 8.7 Percent for 2023
SSA has announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 8.7 percent in 2023--a response to rising inflation. This cost-of-living adjustment is the largest in over forty years.
Social Security Benefits to Increase 5.9 Percent for 2022
SSA has announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022. This cost-of-living adjustment is the largest in forty years. Increased payments to about eight million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021.
For details, read SSA's new Fact Sheet for 2022.
SSI Restoration Act
Congress is currently considering a bill that would strengthen the SSI program. The SSI Restoration Act would make greatly needed updates to SSI, including but not limited to:
- Increasing the SSI benefit rate to at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Level and adjusting it annually to keep pace with inflation.
- Eliminating “in-kind support and maintenance” (ISM) as a type of countable income
- Increasing and inflation-index resource limits for the first time since 1989
- Updating the earned and general income disregards, which have not been adjusted since 1974, and
- Eliminating installment payment requirements and extending the time SSI recipients have to spend down retroactive benefits.
We at McGill & Noble think that these updates to the SSI program, which will help millions of seniors and disabled Americans, are long overdue. If you agree, please reach out to your elected officials and ask them to include the SSI Restoration Act in the upcoming recovery legislation. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative and senators OR click here to find the links to your representatives' websites. You can also click here to send a letter drafted by the National Organization of Social Security Representatives.
Biden Signs Bill Providing Service Dogs for Veterans
On Wednesday, President Biden signed a pilot program into law that will provide service dogs to veterans struggling with PTSD.
The Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members for Veterans Therapy Act (PAWS) requires the VA to implement a five-year program to provide service dogs and training to veterans diagnosed with PTSD.
Find details of the bill from Congress.
Social Security Won't Penalize Disabled People For Saving Stimulus Checks
In a reversal, Supplemental Security Income recipients won't lose benefits even if coronavirus relief payments are still in their bank accounts.
Action Needed for People Receiving SSI with Dependents and Who Do Not File
Tax Returns to Receive $500 Per Child Payment.
SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul announced on Friday that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes and have qualifying children under age 17 should immediately go to the IRS web page to provide their information. SSI recipients who have dependent children need to act by Tuesday, May 5 in order to receive an additional $500 payment per eligible dependent.
If they do not provide additional information to the IRS by the May 5 deadline, qualifying SSI recipients will need to file a tax year 2020 tax return to obtain the additional $500 per eligible child.
SSI recipients with qualifying children should update their information with the IRS here.
Hearing Offices Continue to Suspend In-Person Hearings
On 4/28/20, SSA has announced that, due to COVID-19 related concerns, hearing offices in North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, George Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennesee will continue to suspend in-person hearings. Hearing office will hold telephonic hearings only through the month of August. Claimants who do not agree to telephone hearings may elect to postpone their hearings until in-person hearings resume.
SSA Offices Remain Closed to Public
SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul announced on Friday that, for the time being, SSA offices will remain closed to the public for face-to-face service, and their employees will continue to work remotely. SSA will continue to provide critical services, and recipients of Social Security benefits will continue to receive their monthly benefit amount if they use Direct Deposit. SSA will post updates on its website at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus