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May 2011 Archives

A few facts about Social Security

As officials and analysts continue to report on the impending financial doom of the federal Social Security programs, it becomes easy to get swept up in the negatives. Yes, if Congress does not act, Social Security Disability and similar programs face financial difficulties in the coming years. However, Social Security is a near-universal priority throughout the White House and Congress, and it is unlikely that lawmakers will allow the programs to fail for lack of funds, leaving millions of Americans with no income.

SSA considers videoconferencing

At a meeting of the Social Security Administration's Future Systems Technology Advisory Panel, agency officials announced to the panel that the SSA was considering implementing video conference capabilities on the SSA website. According to the agency, this would allow those applying for or receiving Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, or Social Security retirement benefits to ask questions of and receive customer service from SSA employees from home, instead of being forced to call the SSA 800 number or visit a field office.

New rules regarding SSD benefits and bank account garnishment

Although Social Security Disability is a lifeline for many, SSD benefit payments are usually not enough to lift recipients above the poverty line. The average monthly SSD benefit payment is approximately $1,000. For a recipient who is struggling to pay rent or a mortgage, as well as pay for necessities such as food and clothing, it is easy to see how that monthly payment is quickly tapped out.

Should an 'adult baby' be eligible for SSI benefits?

Earlier this month, the National Geographic Channel's "Taboo" show featured a 30-year-old man that lived his life in a very interesting way: as an "adult baby." According to the television show, the man wears diapers, is fed from a bottle, sleeps in a crib, and is cared for by his roommate, who plays the role of his "mother." While this sort of alternative lifestyle is surprising and even disturbing to many, it does not appear to be harmful to the individual or the community around him.

Impairment focus: depression

Last week, in recognition that May marks Mental Health Month, we chose to spotlight anxiety disorders. This week, we will continue our discussion of mental impairments by focusing on depression.

SSD trustee report forecasts financial trouble

In the coming days, the six trustees that oversee Social Security and Medicare will release their annual reports on the federal benefits programs' finances. The reports will not only discuss the current financial status of Medicare, Social Security, and Social Security Disability and related programs, but will also forecast the financial future of each program.

Impairment focus: anxiety disorders

More than 50 years ago, May was designated Mental Health Month to raise awareness about mental health, to promote understanding and acceptance, and to encourage those with mental health disorders to seek treatment. Although the stigma surrounding mental health has significantly decreased, many California residents who suffer from mental disorders continue to struggle privately, unaware of the myriad of treatment options available to them.

One million denied disability in UK

In October of 2008, the United Kingdom's Department for Work and Pensions revised their application and approval system for the country's disability benefit program. Previously, the Incapacity Benefit system had established a low standard of proof for disability and incapacity to work, allegedly allowing thousands, if not millions, of people to wrongly claim disability benefits. With the creation of the Employment and Support Allowance in 2008, however, that number has gone down significantly.

Impairment focus: skin cancer

Because May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we decided to discuss the disease for this week's impairment focus figure. According to the national Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with 3.5 million cases in over two million Americans diagnosed every year.

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