Rise and Fall in Cases Pending an Administrative Law Judge Hearing: New Actuarial Study

laptop and a judge gavelThe “great recession” that began at the end of 2007 contributed to a rise in initial applications for Social Security disability benefits that peaked in 2010. This surge in initial applications led to a similar rise in appeals for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Because the surge in appeals for a hearing exceeded the capacity to complete hearings quickly, the number of cases that had appealed but were still pending an ALJ determination rose. In fact, the number of disability applicants with an ALJ hearing pending rose up to the end of 2016. However, with the improving economy, declining appeals, hiring more judges, additional funding provided by the Congress to address the hearings backlog in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, and implementation of the Compassionate and Responsive Service (CARES) plan, the number of cases pending an ALJ hearing declined in 2017, and is continuing to decline today. Continue reading

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5 Ways Social Security Protects You and Your Family

family of 3 by a Christmas tree, drinking hot chocolate Next payday, when you see a portion of your wages go toward FICA taxes, rest easier knowing that your investment in Social Security brings a lifetime of protections for you and your family.

From your first job and throughout your career, we track your earnings and give you credits for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes. Those credits can translate into important future benefits. As you prepare for a financially secure future, you should know about these five benefits that you, your spouse, and your children may become eligible for through Social Security: Continue reading

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Shining a Light on Those Who Provide Dementia Care

younger woman hugging elderly woman Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll, not just on those with the disease, but on their families. The effects of this disease, emotional as well as financial, are felt by many in our society. Caring for relatives suffering from this debilitating condition is truly a labor of love, and unfortunately, comes with high costs. This month, as we observe National Family Caregiver Month, we look to shine a light on some of the often overlooked aspects of caring for someone with this disease. Continue reading

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Is it Medicare or Medicaid?

man and doctor chatting A lot of people have a difficult time understanding the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Both programs begin with the letter “M.” They’re both health insurance programs run by the government. People often ask questions about what Medicare and Medicaid are, what services they cover, and who administers the programs. Continue reading

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Five Ways Social Security Serves Our Veterans

who elderly men wearing hats hugging On Veterans Day, we honor the men and women who proudly serve our country. Social Security is committed to helping our veterans. One of our priorities is to constantly improve the quality of service we provide to them and their families.

Here are five Social Security benefits every veteran should know about: Continue reading

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Compassionate Allowances: Fast-Track Help to Those Who Need It Most

two metal snakes We are committed to processing disability claims as quickly as possible in all cases, but our initial claims process typically takes three to four months. If you suffer from a serious medical condition that prevents you from working, time is of the essence when it comes to receiving a decision on your disability application.

In some cases, we’re able to expedite the application process through our Compassionate Allowances program. Social Security uses Compassionate Allowances to identify people whose medical condition is so severe that they obviously meet our disability standards. Under the Social Security Act, we consider you disabled if you can’t work due to a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or result in death. Continue reading

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Honoring the Beneficiaries of Social Security

woman wearing glasses Social Security is committed to the principles and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which improves the lives of our beneficiaries and our employees who have disabilities.

We also want you to see and hear from the people who rely on Social Security disability benefits to thrive as active members of our communities. Our Faces and Facts of Disability website highlights the real life stories of people who have disabilities.

One person we are featuring on our Faces and Facts of Disability website is Lynne Parks. She is an artist from Baltimore, Maryland. First diagnosed with metastatic fibrosarcoma at age 14, she has lived with this illness for nearly 35 years. It started in her face and moved to different parts of her body, including her abdomen and leg. She also has various tumors on her shoulder and arm. Continue reading

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Extending a Helping Hand with Social Security

two holding hands It’s been said that the true measure of a society is found in how it treats its weakest and most helpless citizens.

We celebrate National Good Neighbor Day on September 28 but we can continue this sentiment all year round by extending a helping hand to our nation’s homeless citizens, who may also live with a disability, by telling them how Social Security can help them through the services we offer. Continue reading

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Are You Ready for the Storm?

blowing palm trees at the beach Hurricane season is here. Time to stock up on candles, flashlights, and bottled water, for the possibility of inclement weather. It’s good to be prepared for possible misfortune, and to know that you’re covered in case misfortune or disability occurs. Life can be unpredictable and tragedy can strike at any moment. Continue reading

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