In 2008, the Social Security Administration decided to embark on a rather ambitious project in recognition of the fact that it was fighting a losing battle against the deluge of disability claims.
If a worker who has been paying into the Social Security disability programs through payroll taxes experiences a life-changing disability that prevents substantial work, he or she should be able to count on those benefits. After all, the Social Security Administration's disability programs are intended as an insurance policy. The programs use pooled resources from payroll tax contributions paid by workers and a matching portion from employers.
Today, the average wait time for a review on a claim for Social Security disability benefits is three months. As some New York residents know, if you have to appeal a decision, it can take much longer. While these lengthy wait times are frustrating for everyone who applies for benefits, they can be especially infuriating for those who have already been deemed disabled by another governmental body.
Many people in New York who have stepped foot in a Social Security office know that it can be just as bad as going to the DMV. Often, the lines seem neverending and barely budge -- if you only have an hour to wait, you'll probably have to come back later.
Many people in New York who have applied for Social Security disability benefits know that the system is not perfect. Not only are there kinks along the way, but some things simply do not make sense anymore because they are out of date. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has acknowledged this and plans to make several changes to multiple aspects of the program.
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the definition of marriage as between only a man and a woman under the Defense of Marriage act was invalid. This ruling opened up the possibility for same-sex couples across the country to be eligible for federal benefits, and last week, the Social Security Administration announced that it was beginning to take claims from same-sex couples for benefits they may be owed.
Living with a mental disability can make life extremely challenging, as some New York residents know firsthand. Unfortunately, because many mental conditions are not well-understood by the general public, these people can be treated unfairly and often disrespectfully. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has recently taken a step to help change that.
As we have written about in the past and as many disability benefits recipients know, the Social Security Administration has made all benefits payments electronic. While many were easily able to adapt to this change by utilizing the direct deposit option, those who do not have a bank account were given Direct Express cards. The Direct Express card is similar to a debit card, but allows people without bank accounts to still collect their benefits. Unfortunately, the SSA recently announced that some Direct Express holders have been victimized by scammers.
Many people in New York know how long it can take to get a response from the Social Security Administration about a request for disability benefits. It is why the SSA recommends people file a claim as soon as they know they will need Social Security disability. Some people, however, do not have time to waste when it comes to getting financial help. Fortunately for these people, the Compassionate Allowances list exists.
"Mental retardation" is a term we all know. But we also know that it often carries negative connotations. Despite this, the Social Security Administration has continued to use the term in its Listing of Impairments and in other policy documentation. It's not hard to see how people in New York and elsewhere who apply for disability benefits may feel disrespected to see this term used regularly by the SSA. Fortunately, that may be changing soon.