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In the News

We Can’t Wait Act Introduced In Senate

  December 7, 2023 | By NOSSCR

Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced the We Can’t Wait Act “to amend title II of the Social Security Act to permit disabled individuals to elect to receive disability insurance benefits during the disability insurance benefit waiting period….” The bill number is S.3400, and it has been referred to the Senate…

Marketplace: What Happens to Social Security Benefits in a Debt Default or a Government Shutdown?

  November 12, 2023 | By Janet Nguyen

NOSSCR Interim CEO David Camp recently spoke with Marketplace about the impact a government shutdown or debt default would have on Social Security disability beneficiaries.

CNBC: More than 1 million are waiting for Social Security to process initial disability claims

  November 1, 2023 | By Lorie Konish

CNBC's Lorie Konish explores the impact of a massive backlog at SSA and breaks down a recent Ways and Mean hearing featuring NOSSCR's David Camp.

The Washington Post: Lawmakers Grill Social Security Leader over Disability System’s Failures

  October 27, 2023 | By Lisa Rein

WaPo's Lisa Rein provides a breakdown of a recent Ways and Means hearing into the backlog of Social Security disability claims.

Reopening of Social Security offices expected to bring crowds and confusion

  April 4, 2022 | By Alfred Lubrano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Angela Sutton was shot by a relative at age 14 in Germantown. Now 42 and living in Northeast Philadelphia with her two children, ages 21 and 15, Sutton has been unable to work because of disabilities caused by post-traumatic stress, as well as pain from a bullet still lodged in her groin. Lately, a virus…

What to expect when U.S. Social Security field offices reopen in April

  March 24, 2022 | By Mark Miller, Reuters

If you need help filing for Social Security, Medicare or disability benefits, I have good news and bad news. The good news: The sprawling network of more than 1,200 Social Security field offices around the United States will reopen to the public in early April after a two-year COVID-19 shutdown. During that time, nearly all…

‘I can’t get no support from these guys’: closed Social Security offices pose a hardship for many

  February 9, 2022 | By Kate Giammarise, 90.5 WESA

On a recent weekday morning, Will Smith had walked to the small Social Security Administration field office on Fifth Avenue in downtown McKeesport to get his Social Security card. He was met with a locked door and a sign telling him to use the agency’s website or to call a hotline. “We will resume in-person…

Social Security expands public services, but field offices to remain closed until spring

  January 29, 2022 | By Lisa Rein, The Washington Post

SSA spokesman Hinkle said other efforts also are underway to improve access in the field. The staff has almost tripled the number of 15-minute in-office appointments it provides for “dire need” circumstances. The agency said it continues to modify procedures to eliminate red tape, by allowing applicants to use some secondary evidence and more online…

2 Years After Closing Offices, Social Security Schedules Tentative Reopening

  January 25, 2022 | By Arthur Delaney, HuffPost

March 30 would be more than two years after the original shutdown, not to mention much later than public schools and many other basic government services resumed operations following their initial shutdowns. Republicans have called for an immediate reopening and criticized the Social Security Administration’s limited in-person services, which require appointments that aren’t easy to…

Can You Apply for Disability With an At-home Rapid COVID-19 Test?

  January 12, 2022 | By Julia Métraux, VeryWell Health

On April 16, 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released policy guidance for people with long COVID.2 The first step that people have to take to qualify for benefits involves establishing a medically determinable impairment from COVID-19. For people who have or had COVID-19, there are three options to do this: A report of a positive…

Social Security offices have been closed for most of the pandemic. That effort to protect public health has wounded some of the neediest Americans.

  December 18, 2021 | By Lisa Rein, The Washington Post

Two hours west in Jackson, an old cotton city where almost 1 in 4 people live in poverty, Beth Bates, a legal services attorney, reviewed 4,000 pages of medical records she needed to know cold for an upcoming appeal for a client with degenerative disc disease, breathing problems and borderline intellectual function who had twice…

Where the push to bring Supplemental Security Income benefits up to federal poverty level stands

  August 11, 2021 | By Lorie Konish, CNBC

Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C., have touted a $3.5 trillion spending package aimed at helping to fight poverty. Yet initial drafts have not included proposed reforms to enhance Supplemental Security Income — also known as SSI — that provides benefits to elderly, blind and disabled Americans. Still, advocates have not given up hope that the…

Democrats Want to Reform This Program That Helps Poor Elderly and Disabled Americans

  July 22, 2021 | By Abigail Abrams, TIME

President Joe Biden has invoked Franklin Delano Roosevelt several times as he has implemented sweeping anti-poverty measures to tackle record unemployment and economic turmoil. Hoping to model his legacy on the President who helped the nation climb out of the Great Depression, Biden has spent $1.9 trillion so far on stimulus checks, the expanded child…

How COVID-19 Long Haulers Could Change the U.S. Disability Benefits System

  July 20, 2021 | By Abigail Abrams, TIME

When COVID-19 began spreading in the U.S. in March 2020, McKale Santin was working at a nursing home in Burlington, Vermont. She and her coworkers didn’t yet know how deadly the virus would become, but she remembers feeling nervous as the first patients got sick and she was asked to examine them with only a…

Biden fires head of Social Security Administration, a Trump holdover who drew the ire of Democrats

  July 9, 2021 | By Lisa Rein, The Washington Post

President Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a holdover from the Trump administration who had alienated crucial Democratic constituencies with policies designed to clamp down on benefits and an uncompromising anti-union stance. Saul was fired after refusing a request to resign, White House officials said. His deputy, David Black, who served as…

Stimulus Checks Cause Some To Lose Disability Benefits

  May 19, 2021 | By Arthur Delaney, Huffington Post

Stimulus payments aren’t supposed to count against eligibility for social insurance programs like disability benefits, but some people might have lost benefits because of too much money in their bank accounts. The Social Security Administration has suspended disability benefits for some Supplemental Security Income recipients because the stimulus payments pushed their bank accounts above the…

Long COVID Sufferers Are Seeking Disability Benefits. Will They Change the System?

  April 15, 2021 | By Chelsea Cirruzzo, U.S. News & World Report

For Chantelle James, a registered nurse who lives in the suburbs of Austin, Texas, the push to keep worker’s compensation and receive short-term disability benefits has been demoralizing. In August 2020, the 43-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing chest tightness, coughing, congestion, rashes and balance issues. Now, months later, she still can’t fully…

With Covid Delays, You May Die Waiting for Disability Benefits

  February 16, 2021 | By Bobi Dempsey, In These Times

Jade Dunham was 15 when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Since then, she says, she has been on ​“almost every medication on the market for my condition.” The disease is chronic and debilitating, and Dunham’s symptoms are wide-ranging. They affect nearly every routine task she attempts. “My shoulders no longer have cartilage, and I…

Disability appeals take months, sometimes years, just for a hearing

  February 11, 2021 | By David Hodges, WBTV

People are left waiting for years, sometimes even decades, to receive government benefits they’ve paid into their whole life. Disability claimants who have their cases denied and have to go through the appeals process often have no idea when their case will finally be heard. “I had a family member that was waiting on social…

Social Security Rule Changes Will Harm Disabled Workers

  December 22, 2020 | By Samuel Morris and Jessica Wiseman, Law360

Two new rules from the Trump administration will make it harder for workers and other disabled individuals to collect Social Security disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits. The first rule, which took effect Dec. 16, changes the disability appeals process by allowing internal agency lawyers who work for the Social Security Administration, or SSA, to conduct disability…

Much More Than Checks: How Social Security Depends on the Mail

  August 27, 2020 | By Mark Miller, The New York Times

Top Democrats are warning that the problems afflicting the United States Postal Service pose a threat to more than voting rights — a slowdown in services, they say, will also hurt seniors who rely on letter carriers for Social Security checks, medications and other critical mail. Already, concerns about prescription drug deliveries are surfacing —…

Return to Office? How About Never, Social Security Union Says

  May 8, 2020 | By Louis C. LaBrecque, Bloomberg Law

Telework at the Social Security Administration is boosting call center answer rates and otherwise improving customer service, the leader of a union that represents about 25,000 field office and call center workers says. The agency should allow employees to continue teleworking to the maximum extent possible even after the Covid-19 pandemic abates, said Ralph de…

Cutting Social Security Disability Benefits Can Backfire Horribly

  January 15, 2020 | By Arthur Delaney, HuffPost

In the early 1980s, the Ronald Reagan administration terminated benefits for thousands of disabled people who were supposedly loafing on Social Security Disability Insurance instead of getting a job. The cuts sparked a public outcry, state government protests, serious congressional pushback and court rulings restoring people’s benefits. Now the Donald Trump administration is pursuing changes…

Trump Administration Quietly Goes After Disability Benefits

  January 7, 2020 | By Arthur Delaney, HuffPost

Some Americans could lose Social Security Disability Insurance benefits under a recent Trump administration proposal ― a change that could affect thousands of people but that has received little attention since it was first floated in November. Under the proposed change, the government would look more closely at whether certain disability insurance recipients still qualify…

A “view” from the courtroom: A search for the elusive end of the term

  June 17, 2019 | By Mark Walsh, SCOTUSblog

The bar section is packed this morning because it is the last day for courtroom bar admissions this term. Among those who will be sworn in at the end of today’s session are groups from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives.

SSA officials in Baltimore refuse to answer your Social Security questions

  May 3, 2019 | By Jonathan Walsh, News 5 Cleveland

BALTIMORE, Maryland — All day long, 5 On Your Side Investigators have been fighting for answers to your social Security questions all while visiting our nation’s capitol. Prior to coming to D.C., we tried to get an on-camera interview with the top people at SSA. We called. We emailed. They declined. So, we printed your…

Changes coming to federal disability programs’ application process in PA

  April 17, 2019 | By Kate Giammarise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The process of applying for federal disability assistance will change this week in Pennsylvania — and for many applicants, it will become longer and more complicated. Anyone applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or both, will face an additional step in what already can be a lengthy process. The change is…

U.S. government weighs social-media snooping to detect Social Security fraud

  March 29, 2019 | By Mark Miller, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Getting followed on social media could soon gain a new meaning for workers applying for Social Security disability benefits. The Trump administration is working on a plan to let the Social Security Administration (SSA) check up on claimants on Facebook and Twitter in order to root out fraud and abuse in the…

On Disability and on Facebook? Uncle Sam Wants to Watch What You Post

  March 10, 2019 | By Robert Pear, The New York Times

WASHINGTON — If you’re on federal disability payments and on social media, be careful what you post. Uncle Sam wants to watch. The Trump administration has been quietly working on a proposal to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help identify people who claim Social Security disability benefits without actually being disabled. If,…

Social Security Proposal Could Strip Benefits From Thousands of Non-English Speakers

  February 5, 2019 | By Eoin Higgins, Splinter

A proposed rule change to Social Security benefits could block people that speak limited or no English from getting benefits through the system’s disability insurance program. The change would remove the “inability to communicate in English” from the list of educational categories that are considered when the Social Security Administration’s administrative law judges determine who…

Denied: How some Tennessee doctors earn big money denying disability claims

  January 6, 2019 | By Anita Wadhwani and Mike Reicher, Tennessean

By the time Alan Chrisman was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer, he was too sick to work. The cancer had spread to his lungs. His doctors said he may never get better. Chrisman, 59, applied for disability, the federal safety net program he contributed to with every paycheck during his 30 years working as…

Supreme Court Ruling to Shake Up Social Security Disability Claim System

  July 26, 2018 | By Aliison Bell, ThinkAdvisor

Changes in how the Social Security Administration (SSA) processes claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) could soon cause new headaches for group disability plans — and for the financial professionals who sell, service and administer the plans. Witnesses talked about the looming SSDI claim determination changes Wednesday, at a hearing organized by the House…

High Court Dispute Over SEC Judges Could Affect Other Agencies

  April 19, 2018 | By Jennifer Bennett, Bloomberg

Administrative law judges throughout the federal government could be affected by a case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear April 23 on the constitutionality of those appointed at the SEC. At issue in the case is whether the Securities and Exchange Commission properly followed the procedures laid out in the Constitution for appointing government officials…

U.S. Social Security funding should ease customer-service crisis

  March 27, 2018 | By Mark Miller, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Need help from the Social Security Administration with your benefits? Be prepared for a long wait. Years of budget cuts by Congress have left the Social Security Administration (SSA) short of staff on its toll-free customer service line. Long lines form daily outside many local field offices. And the backlog of people…

Applying for Social Security disability? Tips to increase your odds of success

  January 18, 2018 | By Cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio–Applying for Social Security disability benefits is not easy or quick for most people. The process can be particularly daunting given that in Ohio, only 34 percent of initial cases are approved and when denied, the appeal process can stretch on for months–and sometimes years. Applicants are out of work and facing a disabling…

SSI backlog: Thousands around Philly waiting more than two years for disability hearing

  January 7, 2018 | By Claudia Vargas, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Using a cane to balance her steps, Adrianne Gunter made her way to a small courtroom on the 21st floor of a Center City building where a judge awaited via video screen. Gunter had been waiting 788 days for this hearing Dec. 13. The 33-year-old West Philadelphia native and University of the Arts graduate was…

Elliot Raphaelson: Applying for disability benefits

  August 23, 2017 | By Jill on the Money, The Chicago Tribune

In past columns, I have encouraged people who qualify to learn about and apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of who is disabled. You must have an impairment severe enough to prevent you from doing substantial work, and that condition must have lasted (or must…

AARP calls attention to extended SSA wait times


Excessive hold-times and administrative delays consistently rank at the top of the list among our members when it comes to annoyances in working with the SSA. But we also know it is far more than an annoyance. The SSA’s inability to address the very real problem of these delays has a tangible impact on our…

Public employees are among those feeling the strain of overpayments


Overpayments from SSA – and the hardship that clawbacks inflict on vulnerable people – continue to garner public attention. Pittsburgh-based WPXI has been covering the problem of overpayments, and recently highlighted the effects on current and retired public employees: We talked to Ron Bonasso, a retired postal worker who says at age 71, his Social…

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