In this article, we’re going to take you through recent news stories associated with Social Security Disability, from the creation of a new advocacy position to an inventive fraud scam to the current state of the claims backlog.
Vulnerable Population Liaison
Recently, Social Security Administration (SSA) joined forces with community advocacy groups to develop new ways of improving access to SSA’s services among the country’s most vulnerable populations. This collaboration resulted in the creation of the Vulnerable Population Liaison (VPL) position. The VPL will work directly with organizations that help with claims and provide information to protect potential claimants for benefits.
Happy Birthday, Medicare
Once Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients have been receiving benefits for two years, they will be eligible for health insurance through Medicare. Medicare turned 56 this year!
SSI for Children
If a child suffers from a medical condition (or combination of conditions) that results in “marked and severe functional limitations,” and this condition is expected to last twelve months or result in death, he or she may be eligible for benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If the child is approved, monthly benefits in 2021 may be as high as $794; this amount may be higher if the state the child lives in grants an additional state supplement.
We’ve talked before about scams used to steal individuals’ personal information or obtain benefits through fraudulent means, but scammers have reached new lows. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has noted fraudsters who create fake identification badges that look similar to those used by Federal employees to get into government buildings. They email and text photos of the fake IDs to prove their legitimacy so you’ll answer their questions. Don’t.
President Biden’s 2022 budget proposal increases funding for SSA by almost 10%, which is crucial for providing much-needed relief. Because of the pandemic, SSA closed most of its field offices, with the result that the backlog of pending disability applications that had not reached a final decision increase a whopping 30% in one year. Additionally, processing times increased by 11 days, and for those waiting on SSA to provide a financial lifeline when work is no longer an option, a delay of even a couple of days can prove disastrous. In the last decade, 110,000 applicants died while waiting for a determination, and extra funding is essential to speeding up wait times.