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January 2011 Archives

In 2010, a record high unemployment rate for the disabled

Right now, millions of Americans are dealing with unemployment, debt, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and any other of a number of financial problems associated with the recession. While these problems affect most of us in some way, it seems that the recession is hitting people with disabilities the hardest. In 2010, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was significantly higher than for other workers, and as a result, SSD/SSI applications increased to a record high last year.

Woman is denied long-term disability despite qualifying for SSD

In general, when a person with a disability qualifies for Social Security Disability, he or she should easily qualify for private long-term disability insurance, and vice versa. Eligibility for both programs usually depends on similar or even identical factors, revolving around the diagnosis of a long-term disabling condition that prevents the applicant from maintaining substantial gainful employment, with sufficient medical evidence and testimony to back up that claim. Because of this seeming no-brainer, a Pennsylvania woman who was deemed eligible for SSD recently filed a lawsuit against an insurance company based on its denial of her claim for long-term disability following a brain injury.

Congress to Begin Investigation into SSI for Children

Last month, we extensively discussed the many perceived problems with the Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income programs for children. Specifically, it is alleged that the allure of the monthly income and free medical care has motivated parents to place their children on psychiatric drugs they do not need because they think that being prescribed such medication is a near-requirement for qualification. In addition, we examined the increase of children qualifying for SSD and SSI based on mental, behavioral and learning disorders, and how that number has increased from 8 to 50 percent of all children receiving SSD or SSI in the past 20 years.

Social Security Disability and Divorce

A divorce is rarely an uncomplicated process. There are many financial and logistical decisions which must either be made by the divorcing couple or litigated in court, and when emotions come into play as they are sure to do, an already tricky process can become even more difficult to navigate. Because of this, certain common elements of the divorce process are often overlooked, such as the receipt by one or both divorcing parties of Social Security Disability benefits, and whether a portion of such benefits should be awarded to one party or the other in the divorce settlement.

SSA Utilizes Video Hearings to Reduce SSD Backlog

In recent months, we have written about the ever-increasing backlog of Social Security Disability benefits applications and disability claims, which is causing understandable frustration among would-be or current recipients who rely on the federal program to pay their bills and make ends meet. In response to the increasingly heated criticism that has targeted Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue throughout the past year, Astrue recently announced that his agency is working on the backlog and that it plans to reduce wait times to nine months by the year 2013. However, many have discredited that claim, stating that it is impossible and unrealistic.

Banks May Not Garnish Social Security to Pay Mortgage Deficiency

Homeowners often believe that the beginning of a foreclosure action is the end of their story. The bank has my home, that homeowner may think. What more can they do to me now? Unfortunately, lenders still hold power in the form of mortgage debt, and they have been proven to use any measures possible to make up that debt, garnishing bank accounts and claiming other assets. However, banks do not have the right to go after federal payments from programs such as Social Security, and recipients often have to fight to maintain those payments.

After Complaints, Treasury Declares Exceptions to Electronic Checks

Earlier this week, we wrote about the United States Department of the Treasury's ongoing efforts to go paperless in regards to Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, and similar government benefit payments. Treasury officials previously emphasized the fact that there would be no exceptions to the new electronic payments, and that everyone who received a government benefit check would have to do so electronically. However, after numerous complaints, the Treasury made the decision to relax the requirements for a select group of recipients.

SSA Sets Start Date for Mandatory Electronic Checks

In an effort to increase the security of government benefit payments and to make the process easier for recipients, officials from the United States Department of the Treasury recently announced that the payments of certain government benefits will be processed electronically in the very near future. This means that recipients of benefits such as Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will no longer receive paper checks on either May 1 of this year or in 2013, depending on their current benefit status.

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