A union representing the administrative law judges who decide disability benefit cases has sued the Social Security Administration over the case quotas the judges are required to meet. The lawsuit alleges that the quotas, which require each judge to decide between 500 and 700 cases per year, violate the independence of the judges as well as the due process rights of applicants.
Life has been made more difficult for people in California trying to get information about disability or unemployment benefits thanks to budget cuts. Officials with the Employment Development Department recently acknowledged that people are having difficulties reaching anyone at the EDD offices, and they hope to have the problem addressed by this summer.
Collecting Social Security Disability (SSD) in California, or in any state for that matter, is never easy. In order to collect, one must prove that the serious or long-term medical condition that is preventing you from continuing to earn a substantial living from work will either lead to your eventual death, or that it will prevent you from working for more than one year.
Individuals who suffer from mental or physical disabilities often suffer a number of challenges. In addition to health conditions, financial and personal issues can take their toll. Discrimination in the workforce or the housing market can also make life more difficult. A recent case demonstrates that those with disabilities continue to face systematic discrimination, even when protected by federal laws.
The federal government recently issued a warning about the fiscal challenges on the horizon for the Social Security Administration. The Social Security trust fund is now projected to run out of funds in 2033, three years earlier than previously projected. This is most likely because the contributions to the fund have been drastically reduced as a result of the difficult economic climate which has diminished payroll taxes.
Fraternal male-female twins both suffer from schizophrenia. The difference for them is that the sister was diagnosed at age 12 and has never been able to work. The brother, unwilling to submit to that fate, did all he could to work and maintain an independent lifestyle. This included holding down continuous employment at fast food restaurants, cleaning services and retail stores, such as Wal-Mart. While this happened outside California, it could have happened anywhere.
When the recession began, the unemployment rate quickly began to skyrocket, and despite the many efforts of state and federal lawmakers, it has remained high in the years since the recession ended. Interestingly, at the same time that the unemployment rate began to rise, the number of Social Security Disability applications also increased, and economists began to suspect that the two were related.
Today is Veteran's Day: A day that honors those who have served our country and risked their lives. It also honors the families of veterans who also sacrificed when the say goodbye to their loved ones for months on end and often losing their primary income when the soldier comes home injured.
The weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving typically entail an activity that is somewhat of a ritual among employees in California and throughout the U.S.: open enrollment. This is the time of year when workers change their health insurance and other benefits elections, and they are generally bound to those choices for the next calendar year.
Several months ago, we wrote about the Social Security Administration's impending move to electronic payments, which was part of an overall government effort to discontinue all government benefit payments by check. According to the United States Department of the Treasury, moving Social Security Disability and other government benefits to a paperless system will save taxpayers approximately $1 billion over the next 10 years.