NOSSCR engages in research and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. We

  • Testify at Congressional hearings and/or provide written testimony
  • Meet with Congressional Representatives and Senators to provide information about pending or necessary legislation
  • Meet with representatives from the Social Security Administration
  • Periodically issue major reports designed to show how better public policy can bring about big improvements in the lives of our nation’s people living with disabilities

Below are recent policy updates from Capitol Hill and beyond:

Upcoming Hearings

Past Hearings

NOSSCR Testimony and Statements for the Record 

Social Security Related Legislation

Correspondence with Congress

For more current events about Social Security disability, visit our newsroom.



Upcoming Hearings 

 


Past Hearings 

Hearing to Consider the Nomination of Andrew M. Saul, of New York, to be Commissioner of Social Security for the term expiring January 19, 2019

This hearing was on Tuesday, October 2 at 10:30 AM EDT. 

Johnson Announces Hearing on the State of Social Security’s Information Technology

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “The State of Social Security’s Information Technology,” on Thursday, September 27 at 11:00 AM EST. At the hearing, Members discussed the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) information technology (IT), including modernization, management, and acquisitions.

Hearing to Consider the Nomination of Gordon Hartogensis, of Connecticut, to be Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for a term of five years, vice W. Thomas Reeder, Jr and Gail S. Ennis, of Maryland, to be Inspector General, Social Security Administration, vice Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr., resigned

This hearing took place on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 10:00 AM EDT. 

Hearing on Examining Changes to Social Security’s Disability Appeals Process

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing entitled “Examining Changes to Social Security’s Disability Appeals Process," which focused on recent and planned changes affecting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability appeals process, including SSA's decision to reintroduce the reconsideration stage in 10 states.  The hearing took place on Wednesday, July 25, 2018.

Examining the Importance of Paid Family Leave for American Working Families

The Senate's Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy held a hearing titled "Examining the Importance of Paid Family Leave for American Working Families" on Wednesday, July 9, 2018.

Hearing on Examining Social Security’s Solvency Challenge: The Status of Social Security’s Trust Funds

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing entitled “Examining Social Security’s Solvency Challenge: The Status of Social Security’s Trust Funds.” The hearing focused on the findings of the 2018 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds. The hearing took place on Thursday, June 7, 2018 in 1100 Longworth House Office Building.

Hearing on Securing Americans’ Identities: The Future of the Social Security Number 

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Securing Americans’ Identities: The Future of the Social Security Number.” The hearing focused on the dangers of the use of the Social Security number (SSN) as both an identifier and authenticator and examine policy considerations and possible solutions to mitigate the consequences of SSN loss or theft. The hearing took place on Thursday, May 17, 2018 in 1100 Longworth House Office Building. 

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Hearing: Lacking a Leader: Challenges Facing the SSA After Over 5 Years of Acting Commissioners

House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) held a hearing entitled “Lacking a Leader: Challenges Facing the SSA After Over 5 Years of Acting Commissioners” on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. The hearing focused on the need for a Senate-confirmed Commissioner to lead the Social Security Administration (SSA), the challenges and limitations the SSA faces when it is led by an Acting Commissioner, and the legal framework for filling a vacancy. 

Hearing on Ensuring Social Security Serves America’s Veterans

In a press release issued on January 31, 2018, the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled "Ensuring Social Security Serves America’s Veterans" on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.  At the hearing, Members examined the effectiveness of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) initiatives to reduce processing times and expedite claims for certain veterans, as well as efforts by the agency to hire veterans.  Military service members receive expedited processing of disability claims from the SSA.  The expedited process is used for military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.  In addition, since March 17, 2014, veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100% permanent and total may receive expedited processing of applications for Social Security disability benefits. 

To see more past hearings, click here.  


NOSSCR Testimony and Statements for the Record  

Examples of hearings where NOSSCR leadership was an invited witness include:

 

NOSSCR Submits Statement for the Record of February 26 House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing

The House Committee on Ways and Means' Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on February 26th, examining troubling allegations regarding what appears to have been concerted action by a group of New York City police officers, firefighters and others to defraud the Social Security disability program. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) staff attended the hearing, and submitted a statement for the record, condemning the actions alleged in the hearing and urging Congress to provide the Social Security Administration with adequate resources to ensure the integrity of its disability programs.

Read NOSSCR's statement for the record

NOSSCR Submits Statement for the Record of January 16 House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing

The House Committee on Ways and Means' Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on January 16th, examining very troubling allegations regarding what appears to have been concerted action by a group of New York City police officers, firefighters and others to defraud the Social Security disability program. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) staff attended the hearing, and submitted a statement for the record, condemning the actions alleged in the hearing and urging Congress to provide the Social Security Administration with adequate resources to ensure the integrity of its disability programs.

Read NOSSCR's statement for the record

NOSSCR Submits Statement for the Record of Oct. 7 Senate Oversight Hearing

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a hearing on October 7th, examining troubling allegations regarding what appear to have been concerted fraudulent actions by a Huntington, West Virginia attorney and a former Administrative Law Judge. Thankfully, the Committee made clear that there is no evidence that the alleged actions are anything but an isolated incident. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) submitted a statement for the record, condemning the actions alleged in the hearing and urging Congress to provide the Social Security Administration with adequate resources to ensure the integrity of its disability programs.

Read NOSSCR's statement for the record
Read NOSSCR’s press release responding to the hearing



Social Security Related Legislation 

President Signs Bill to Strengthen Social Security's Rep Payee Program Into Law

On April 13, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (H.R. 4547).  Introduced by Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT), this bipartisan legislation will modernize the representative payee program so that it will better protect Social Security beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own benefits.

Specifically, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 will:

  • Strengthen oversight of representative payees by increasing the number of performance reviews of payees, requiring additional types of reviews, and improving the effectiveness of reviews;
  • Reduce the burden on families by eliminating the requirement to file the annual accounting form for representative payees who are parents living with their children or who are spouses;
  • Protect the most vulnerable beneficiaries through improved information-sharing by requiring the Social Security Administration (SSA) to identify whether a beneficiary is in foster care and reassess whether the payee is appropriate, and by directing the SSA to study how better to coordinate with Adult Protective Services and with state guardianship courts;
  • Enhance personal control by allowing beneficiaries to make a designation of their preferred payee in advance, and improve payee selection by requiring the SSA to assess the appropriateness of the order-of-preference list it uses to select payees;
  • Limit overpayment liability for children in the child welfare system; and
  • Ensure that no beneficiary has a barred payee by codifying the policy that bans individuals with certain criminal convictions from serving as payees (including individuals currently serving as payees) and prohibiting individuals who have payees from serving as a payee for others.

CLICK HERE for the legislative text of the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018.
CLICK HERE to read the Ways and Means Committee’s technical explanation outlining H.R. 4547, and CLICK HERE to read the letter that the Committee sent to the Social Security Administration afterwards.
CLICK HERE to learn more about how this bipartisan bill helps millions of Americans.

NOSSCR proudly supported this bill given the essential role representative payees play in serving the needs of millions of beneficiaries who need assistance managing their benefits.  

Fiscal Year 2017 Spending Plan Finalized 

Last week, Congress passed and the President signed a spending bill that funds the federal government through the rest of Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), which ends on September 30. SSA’s administrative budget is broadly similar to last year’s, with two exceptions. 

First, the Fiscal Year 2016 budget had allocated $150 million to SSA to renovate its headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland. The series of “continuing resolutions” that kept the government open for the first part of FY17 stated that SSA would receive another $150 million this year, specifically for reducing the backlog at the hearing level. However, the final FY17 budget only allows $90 million for backlog-reducing measures. SSA is currently determining how they will use this smaller amount of money. The agency has indicated it is continuing to hire and train new ALJs and has also recently hired approximately 200 decision writers and other support staff. 

The second change in SSA funding is that the agency received approximately $400 million more for “program integrity” activities. These include Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs), SSI redeterminations, Cooperative Disability Investigation Units, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys (SAUSAs) who help prosecute Social Security fraud cases.

As the Trump Administration begins preparing its Fiscal Year 2018 budget request, NOSSCR will continue to advocate for SSA to receive sufficient administrative funding. The agency must have the resources it needs to manage all of its workloads and provide quality service to claimants, beneficiaries, representatives, and the general public. 

2017 Congressional Budget Resolution

The Senate will vote this week on a number of amendments to its budget resolution, and then on the budget itself. The budget, if passed, would begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act. NOSSCR has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I -VT) amendment that creates a point of order against any legislation that would break Donald Trump’s promise not to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Government Shutdown Avoided (Or At Least Postponed)

Congress passed a continuing resolution that will keep the federal government open until December 9. The Senate vote was 72-26 and the House vote was 342-85. The President signed this legislation on September 29.

The continuing resolution cuts discretionary spending by 0.496%. SSA will face a cut of about $53 million. SSA believes that its costs to provide the current level of service will increase by over $300 million in the coming fiscal year. This means that SSA will have to find ways to cut its expenses, and the agency will be less productive in Fiscal Year 2017. The only area of SSA operations exempt from the cut are certain types of program integrity spending, including Continuing Disability Reviews and SSI redeterminations. Funding for program integrity will remain at Fiscal Year 2016 levels under the continuing resolution.

Members of Congress are expected to return to Washington after Election Day to discuss federal spending for the rest of Fiscal Year 2017, which runs from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. 

Congress is Considering Cuts to Social Security’s Operating Budget – Act Now

Today, a record one million Americans are waiting over 575 days on average for a hearing on their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability claims. Today’s backlog exists because Social Security’s operating budget has been cut by over 10 percent since 2010, while workloads have increased as the baby boomers age.

Now, Congress is considering even more cuts. A funding bill in the House of Representatives would cut Social Security’s operating budget by over $250 million in 2017. Under the House bill, the Social Security Administration would need to close all its offices for two weeks, since all employees would be furloughed. And a hiring freeze would lead to longer wait times and delays in all parts of our Social Security retirement, survivors’, and disability system. The Senate version of the bill provides slightly more funding, but still fails to address many critical agency resource needs.

Contact your Congressional Representative TODAY and tell them to fully fund the Social Security Administration.

Tell them:

    • I urge you to vote to fully fund the Social Security Administration’s operating budget, at the levels requested in President Obama’s 2017 budget.
    • Today, over 1 million people with disabilities are waiting over 575 days on average for a hearing on their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability claims. This is an all-time high. Most people have little to no income while waiting for a hearing, and run the risk of financial ruin and worsening health the longer they wait.
    • Social Security’s operating budget has been reduced by 10 percent from 2010 levels. Any further cuts will lead to even longer, more devastating waits and reduced service to the public.
    • Americans cannot afford a Social Security Administration that is underfunded and understaffed.
    • Please ensure that Social Security’s operating budget is fully funded for 2017 at levels the President has requested.

Social Security Earned Benefits Payment Act

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) introduced the Social Security Earned Benefits Payment Act (S. 2090H.R. 3621) on September 28, 2015. There are 27 cosponsors in the Senate and 9 in the House.  All of the sponsors are Democrats.

This bill would provide for a “clean reallocation” of tax revenues, as Congress has done 11 times in the past with bipartisan support. Changing the percentage of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes that are placed in Social Security’s Disability Insurance Trust Fund and Old Age and Survivors’ Trust Fund for calendar years 2016-2020 would allow both trust funds to remain solvent until 2034.  If the distribution of tax revenues between the trust funds does not change, and Congress does not take any other action, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund is expected to become insolvent in late 2016, meaning that it could only pay 81% of scheduled benefits. 

This bill does not meet the requirements of the House rule passed by the Republican majority in January 2015. That rule creates a “point of order,” or procedural barrier, against any substantial reallocation that is not paired with spending reductions or revenue increases that benefit the combined trust funds. However, a simple majority of the House could vote to overturn the point of order; if the Social Security Earned Benefits Payment Act has enough votes to pass the House, the rule would not be a significant obstacle. 

Although Republicans have promised to avoid the across-the-board cuts that would result from Congressional inaction, it is unlikely that they will support the Social Security Earned Benefits Payment Act at this time. NOSSCR is closely monitoring the situation in Congress regarding trust fund solvency, and will send action alerts to members at any time when members of Congress would benefit from hearing from constituents on this important issue.  



Correspondence with Congress 

CCD Statement for the Record U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means

The undersigned members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) submitted the following statement for the record of the February 25, 2015 hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security, on “Maintaining the Disability Insurance Trust Fund’s Solvency”.

The CCD is a coalition of national organizations working together to advocate for federal public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration, and inclusion of the approximately 57 million children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society. SSDI’s modest but vital assistance supports these goals for approximately 11 million Americans, helping beneficiaries with disabilities and their families to meet their everyday needs -- keeping a roof over their heads, putting food on the table, paying for out-of-pocket medical and disability-related expenses, and meeting other basic living expenses. 
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