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Legislative Advocacy

General SSA Advocacy

  • Provide adequate administrative funding (LAE)
    • Remove from Labor-HHS-Ed budget caps the portion of SSA’s LAE that comes from the OAS and DI trust funds
    • Expand allowable uses of program integrity funds to include targeted denial reviews (TDRs) and institute a minimum number or percentage of denials subject to TDR
  • Improve representative fee process
    • Increase and annually inflation-adjust maximum fee payable through fee agreement
    • Recognize firms as representatives for the purpose of paying fees
      • When fees are split among multiple representatives, allow all fee payments to be released on the same day
    • Improve processing times for payment of fees through agreements and petitions
    • Require notice and appeal rights before SSA can remove fees from representatives’ bank accounts
  • Modernize information technology
    • Provide access to electronic claims files at initial and reconsideration levels
    • Provide access to electronic claims files after an award is made to simplify the PERC (pre-effectuation review contact) process
    • Improve processing of 1696 (appointment of representative) forms
  • Abolish the reconsideration phase of the appeals process, using administrative savings to improve development and evaluation of evidence at the initial level; if reconsideration is not abolished, improve it by requiring SSA to try other solutions at https://nosscr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/nosscr_ssa_efficiency_suggestions.pdf (p. 2)
  • Increase the Substantial Gainful Activity level for non-blind individuals to the level for blind individuals and continue to inflation-adjust it annually.
  • Restore Administrative Law Judges to competitive service, continue their qualified judicial independence, and prohibit probationary periods
  • Extend demonstration authority, noting CCD’s demonstration principles http://c-c-d.org/fichiers/CCD_SS-Disability_Demonstration_Principles-Final-1-14.pdf
  • Decouple eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, and long-term services and supports from eligibility for or receipt of Social Security disability benefits; provide continued attachment to health care for Social Security disability beneficiaries whose work activity disqualifies them from receipt of Social Security benefits
  • Eliminate the “negligent failure” standard so SSA can provide restitution for all beneficiaries whose representative payees misused benefits. The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA; P.L. 108-203) only requires SSA to repay misused benefits to beneficiaries where there was “negligent failure” by SSA to investigate or monitor a representative payee, unless the payee is not an individual, or is an individual who serves 15 or more beneficiaries. Congress should extend these protections by eliminating the “negligent failure” standard for all instances of misuse

 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and other Title II benefits

  • End 5-month wait for SSDI eligibility
  • End 29-month wait for Medicare eligibility
  • Merge OASI and DI trust funds; achieve 75-year solvency without cuts to current or future beneficiaries
  • Eliminate marriage penalties for Disabled Adult Children (DACs) and exclude them from the family maximum if they live outside the family home
  • Repeal the seven-year time limit for disabled widow/ers benefits
  • Require SSA to ask questions of those reporting wages to help the agency identify work incentives (IRWEs, subsidies, etc.) when self-employment or other wages are

 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Increase and inflation-adjust resource limits, general income exclusion, and earned income exclusion
  • Pay retroactive SSI in a single payment, with extended period where the payment is excluded from countable resources
  • End in-kind support and maintenance (ISM). If ISM is not abolished, improve it by:
    • Amending Section 1612 (a)(2)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act so SSI is reduced by less than 33 1/3% when ISM is present
    • Excluding food from ISM calculations by stating in Section 1612(a)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act that only shelter costs should be counted for “support and maintenance furnished in cash or kind”
  • End reduction in SSI for recipients who are married to each other
  • End consideration of couples as “holding out” as married
  • End requirement that underpayments of child SSI be put into “dedicated accounts” (separate from the child’s ongoing SSI benefits) and only used for limited purposes
  • Increase the maximum age of disability onset for ABLE account eligibility and allow ABLE contributions of lump-sum retroactive payments of SSI or Title II benefits to be applied to prior years’ ABLE contribution limits
  • Raise or eliminate the resource cap for 1619(b)
  • Eliminate the cap on the Student Earned Income Exclusion and do not require school enrollment for beneficiaries under age 22

Please check back here for upcoming hearings as they arise. 

Social Security Subcommittee Hearing on Protecting and Improving Social Security: Comprehensive Legislative Proposals to Enhance Social Security

The House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held the third hearing in its series on “Protecting and Improving Social Security.” The hearing, “Protecting and Improving Social Security: Comprehensive Legislative Proposals to Enhance Social Security,” took place on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at 9:00 AM EST.

Social Security Subcommittee Hearing on Protecting and Improving Social Security: Benefit Enhancements

The House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held the second hearing in its series on “Protecting and Improving Social Security.” The hearing, “Protecting and Improving Social Security: Benefit Enhancements,” took place on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at 2:00 PM EST.

Social Security Subcommittee Hearing on Protecting and Improving Social Security: Enhancing Social Security to Strengthen the Middle Class

The House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee began a hearing series on “Protecting and Improving Social Security.” The first hearing in the series, “Protecting and Improving Social Security: Enhancing Social Security to Strengthen the Middle Class,” occurred on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at 10:00 AM EST.

Improving Retirement Security for America’s Workers

The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing entitled “Improving Retirement Security for America’s Workers” on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing was from invited witnesses only.

Open Executive Session to Consider the Nominations of Andrew M. Saul, Gordon Hartogensis, and Gail S. Ennis

This hearing was on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM EST. Andrew M. Saul, of New York, to be Commissioner of Social Security for the term expiring January 19, 2019. Gordon Hartogensis, of Connecticut, to be Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for a term of five years. Gail S. Ennis, of Maryland, to be Inspector General, Social Security Administration. 

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. 

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, visit the advocacy archive.

2018

  • Lisa Ekman testimony and oral statement on behalf of CCD Social Security Taskforce, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommitte’s hearing titled “Examining Changes to Social Security’s Disability Appeals Process,” July 25, 2018 

2017

2016

 

To see more, visit the advocacy archive.

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