For the second straight year, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect historically small increases in their benefits come January.
Preliminary figures suggest a benefit increase of roughly 1.5 percent, which would be among the smallest since automatic increases were adopted in 1975, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
Next year's raise will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven't gone up much in the past year.
The exact size of the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, won't be known until the Labor Department releases the inflation report for September. That was supposed to happen Wednesday, but the report was delayed indefinitely because of the partial government shutdown.
The COLA is usually announced in October to give Social Security and other benefit programs time to adjust January payments. The Social Security Administration has given no indication that raises would be delayed because of the shutdown, but advocates for...
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012.
The 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2012. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2011.
The Social Security Administration also noted that for some beneficiaries, the increase in Social Security benefits next year “may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.”
For an in depth analysis read the NY Times article.
Click here for PBS News Hour coverage.
- CMS Announced Status Update and Future Changes (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2010 (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Occupy Wall Street And The Future Of Workers Compensation (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- The Culture of Workers Compensation Needs to Change (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- New CMS Policy Announced: Exposure, Ingestion, and Implantation Issues and December 5, 1980 (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Workplace Stress Labeled Back Death of the 21st Century (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Monday, January 28, 2013
PROBLEM 1: You haven't had regular medical care because you don't have health insurance. Without regular medical care, it's difficult to develop a relationship with a doctor that is strong enough that the doctor can complete a report on your health. Even if your disability is very real, proving it in Court can still be a hard thing to do. However, without medical insurance, most doctors won't see a patient.
SOLUTION: In Nebraska there are some free clinics where you can be seen by a doctor even if you cannot afford to pay. To find a free clinic near you, contact your local health department. Anyone planning on applying for Social Security Disability should try to develop a relationship with a doctor by seeking regular medical care as often as possible.
PROBLEM 2: Many applicants don't have the right kinds of conversations with their doctors about their disabilities. Doctors are mainly concerned with your symptoms and how they can help you get well. They aren't necessarily focused on the kinds of things they'll need to know to help you with your Social Security Disability claim. To fill out a report for your claim, they'll need to know exactly how much you can and cannot do.
Monday, November 7, 2011
- Social Security 2012: The Good News and The Bad News (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Occupy Wall Street And The Future Of Workers Compensation (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- State Acts to Restrict Medical Care (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Pensions, Workers Compensation and Medical Benefits (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
WASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration said Monday that it would stop trying to collect taxpayers’ debts that were more than 10 years old.
The statement came after a Washington Post article revealed that the Treasury had started intercepting the federal and state tax refunds of debtors’ children — even if the debts were decades old. The debts stem from overpayments by Social Security that the agency had been trying to recoup even if the original recipients had died.
“I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older,” Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of Social Security, said in a statement.
Ms. Colvin said the effort would stop until the agency completed a thorough review of its “responsibility and discretion” to collect any debts to the government.
A revision to the Farm Bill passed in 2008 lifted the statute of limitations “applicable to collection of debt by administrative offset.” That allowed the authorities to withhold the tax refunds of 400,000 people who had relatives with debts to Social Security, The Post reported.
Some of the debts were incurred as long ago as the mid-20th century, The Post said, and the taxpayers whose refunds were being intercepted did not know that their relatives had been overpaid or owed any money.
The actions by the Social Security...
CMS Takes a New Direction in the Proposed MSP Appeal ...
Jan 06, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) has proposed rules for the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) appeals process that will target the “applicable plan” as the primary responsible party for recovery.
Federal Court Enjoins CMS From MSP Recovery Procedures
May 18, 2011
"IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Defendant's demand that attorneys withhold liability proceeds from clients pending payment of amounts claimed by the Defendant as MSP reimbursement exceeds her authority under the ...
US Supreme Court Asked to Review MSP Preemption Issue
Aug 22, 2013
Medicare is not required to abide by a stipulated order of allocation of benefits in a liability case when seeking reimbursement under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSP). Also, the New Jersey Collateral Source Statute .
Workers' Compensation: CMS Publishes Rules to MSP ...
Sep 23, 2013
CMS Publishes Rules to MSP Payments Under the SMART Act. Medicare has published proposed Rules to governor obtaining information concerning the conditional payments as required by the recently implemented ...
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
of the Nebraska Bar
Recently, the Waal Street Journal reported that the Social Security Administration (SSA), frustrated by the backlog of applications for disability benefits, started pressuring the 140 doctors the agency uses to help evaluate some of the claims. In an effort to encourage the quick processing of claims doctors were paid a flat rate of $80/case in stead of the previous $90/hour to review the cases. Many times these cases have hundreds of pages of records to be reviewed and can turn on a few sentences.
Also, doctors were assigned to evaluate conditions that were not in their areas of expertise. One of the more interesting quotes came from Neil Novin, former chief of surgery at Baltimore's Harbor Hospital, who worked for Social Security part time for about 10 years. He said "People who shouldn't be getting [disability] are getting it, and people who should be getting it aren't getting it".
In my experience this has always been the case, but now, with agency doctors being pressured to evaluate these cases quicker, we’ll likely see less competent and thorough evaluations. This in turn will lead to longer delays, more cases waiting for a hearing and more money spent to evaluate more cases by administrative personnel within the SSA.
Although I’ve never thought the agency doctors do a good job evaluating these cases, the situation will get worse now that 1/3 of the 140 doctors have either quit or been fired over this shift in philosophy. In this setting it’s every more important to seek the help of a treating physician in offering a supportive report.
See the complete article:
- Lawmakers seek Social Security check protections (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Social Security Check Fraud Targeted By Republican Lawmakers (huffingtonpost.com)
- Doctors Question Disability Decisions As Agency Moves To Speed Up Process (online.wsj.com)
- Social Security Disability: Get the Evidence You Need (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- CMS Announced Status Update and Future Changes (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The majority of the states permit Social Security to take the setoff. A minority of states allow a reverse setoff where the insurance carrier takes the setoff, and the workers' compensation benefits are reduced.
“Nevertheless, … we are duty-bound to apply the law as written by Congress to the facts as they occurred and not as they might have occurred. Because [the taxpayer's] Social Security benefits were reduced by the amount of workers’ compensation benefits received, that offset amount is treated as a Social Security benefit and is, therefore, taxable,” the court said.
- Court Rules Social Security Offset Not Barred by Time (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Employer Fraud is Alive and Well (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Vermont Single Payer System Called the Dawn of A New Era (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Illinois Workers Compensation Maybe Heading for Extinction (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- The Republican Plan: Just End Medicare (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Social Security and Income Tax (nosscr.com)
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Thursday, October 5, 2017
- Disability benefits were paid to almost 10.2 million people.
- Awards to disabled workers (706,448) accounted for 88 percent of awards to all disabled beneficiaries (799,330).
- In December, payments to disabled beneficiaries totaled more than $11.3 billion.
- Benefits were terminated for 820,372 disabled workers.
- Supplemental Security Income payments were another source of income for about one out of six disabled beneficiaries.
- Workers accounted for the largest share of disabled beneficiaries (87 percent).
- The average age was 54.
- Men represented less than 52 percent.
- The largest category of diagnoses was diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (32.3 percent).
- Average monthly benefit received was $1,171.15.
- Supplemental Security Income payments were another source of income for about one out of eight.
Since 1956, the Social Security program has provided cash bene ts to people with disabilities. This annual report provides program and demographic information about the people who receive those benefits. The basic topics covered are— beneficiaries in current-payment status;
- workers’ compensation and public disability benefits;
- benefitts awarded, withheld, and terminated;
- disabled workers who have returned to work;
- outcomes of applications for disability bene ts; and
- disabled beneficiaries receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or both.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Friday, February 3, 2017
The Social Security Administration in a recent report objectively reports this phenomena.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
- if the benefits are retirement plan benefits (this is true even if you retired due to disability)
- if part of your workers’ compensation benefit money lowers the amount you receive from your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits. In that case, that the part of your workers compensation benefits is considered part of your Social Security (or RRB) and may be taxable.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Employer Not Permitted to Stop Temporary Disability Benefits When Social Security Disability Awarded
The NJ Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling of Judge of Compensation George F. Geist who assessed a penalty upon the employer for defying an Order of the Court to pay workers' compensation temporary disability benefits.
The employer' attorney argued that the employer was permitted to unilaterally terminate temporary disability benefits since the Social Security Administration had awarded the the injured worker disability benefits. The employer asserted that by accepting the award from Social Security the claimant had removed himself from the workforce. No supporting law was offered to support that proposition and the compensation court awarded a 25% penalty and simple interest against the employer.
Ferguson v Trenton Board of Education (NJ App. Div. 20112)
Monday, May 17, 2010
The number of pending Social Security disability claims continues to increase. Congressman Rob Filner of California has introduced legislation to federalize the State Disability Determination Services (DDS).
Filner, at a recent joint hearing of the Ways and Means Committee testified the backlog of Social Security Disability claims is continuing to mount. In California alone, 40,000 cases were involved in the backlog and 1,000 new cases were being added each month. State imposed furloughs have complicated the process even further.
To read more about social security disability click here.
Click here for more information on how our office can assist you in a Social Security disability application/appeal.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Click here for the Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Tanner Announces a Hearing on Clearing the Disability Claims Backlogs: The Social Security Administration’s Progress and New Challenges Arising From the Recession
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Senate Labor Committee report
The Senate Labor Committee reports favorably and with
committee amendments Senate Bill No. 613.
As amended by the committee, this bill provides, from July 1, 2013
forward, an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) in the weekly
workers' compensation benefit rate for any worker who has become
totally and permanently disabled from a workplace injury at any time
after December 31, 1979 and for the surviving dependents of any
worker who died from a workplace injury after December 31, 1979.
The COLA would be an amount such that, when added to the
workers' compensation weekly benefit rate initially awarded, the sum
will bear the same percentage relationship to the maximum benefit rate
at the time of the adjustment that the initial rate bore to the maximum
rate at the time of the initial award, except that:
1. The bill reduces the amount of the adjustment as much as
necessary to ensure that the sum of the adjustment and the amount
initially awarded does not exceed the amount which would cause any
reduction of disability benefits payable under the Federal Old Age,
Survivors and Disability Act; and
2. The bill reduces the supplemental workers’ compensation
benefits (but not regular workers’ compensation) for claimants injured
after 1979 by the amount of any Social Security benefits (other than
Social Security disability benefits and any increases in Social Security
benefits due to federal statutory changes after May 31, 1980), Black
Lung benefits, or the employer’s share of disability pension payments
received from or on account of an employer, except that if the worker's
original workers' compensation award was already reduced under
current law, there would be no further reduction of the supplemental
benefits under the bill.
These reductions parallel the reductions provided under current
law for claimants who were injured before 1980. The bill also
provides that no supplemental benefits would be paid in any case
where they are calculated to be less than $5 per week.
Current law requires such annual adjustments in the rate of
workers' compensation benefits for death and permanent total
disability to be paid from the Second Injury Fund (SIF), but only for
cases of injury or death occurring before January 1, 1980. The bill
extends the adjustments paid from the SIF to claims originating after
December 31, 1979, although the adjustments would apply only to
benefits paid on those claims after July 1, 2013, thus avoiding a
backlog of retroactive benefits.
The bill provides that supplemental payments will commence only
after SIF assessments are sufficient to pay them without using General
Fund money. The supplemental benefit payments would start on July
1, 2013 and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is
required to take into account the supplemental benefits when
calculating the amount of the Second Injury Fund assessment which
starts on January 1, 2013, thus avoiding the need for any General Fund
To avoid an abrupt fiscal impact on the workers’ compensation
system, the bill provides that one third of the supplemental benefit rate
be paid during the first year, two thirds of the rate be paid during the
second year and the full amount be paid during the third and
The bill sets time limits for workers’ compensation insurers and
self-insured employers to notify the SIF when supplemental workers’
compensation benefits are required under the bill. An insurer or selfinsured
employer is required to provide the notice not more than 60
days after the supplement is awarded or voluntary payment is to begin.
If a failure to notify results in the payment of an incorrect amount of
benefits, the liability for the payment of the supplemental benefits is
transferred from the SIF to the insurer or employer until the required
notice is provided.
The bill makes no change in the provisions of sections 1 and 9 of
P.L.1980, c.83 (C.34:15-95.4 and 34:15-95.5), which provide for the
reduction of certain portions of workers' compensation benefits by the
amount of Social Security disability benefits paid. In addition, the bill
expressly states that the supplemental benefits shall not be paid in a
manner which in any way changes or modifies the provisions of those
sections. The bill, therefore, will have no effect on existing provisions
of State and federal law regarding offsets between workers'
compensation and federal Social Security disability benefits.
The committee amendments provide that the application of the cost
of living adjustment commence on July 1, 2013, instead of July 1,
This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2012-2013 session
pending technical review. As reported, the bill includes the changes
required by technical review, which has been performed.
- NJ Workers Compensation Rates 2014 (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Where is the Deep Water? (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- California Workers' Compensation Rates Going Up in 2014 (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- The World Trade Center Registry Opened Again to Register 9-11 Workers (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- The Next Wave: N.H.L. Players Sue League Over Head Injuries (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- John Burton Reports on Workers' Compensation Insurance Industry Underwriting Results (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
- Voters Will Decide on Minimum Wage Hike - Impacting Workers Compensation Benefits (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Obama administration announced [press release] Monday that the Social Security Administration will begin processing payments to surviving spouses of same-sex married couples
In n a brief statement, Press Officer LaVenia LaVelle said, "I am pleased to announce that, effective today, Social Security is processing some widow's and widower's claims by surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due. In addition, we are able to pay some one-time lump sum death benefit claims to surviving same-sex spouses.
As I stated shortly after the Supreme Court decision on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, our goal is to treat all Americans with dignity and respect." Widow's benefits are payable to the surviving spouses who were married at the time of their spouse's death, as well as those who were legally married for at least 10 years, but later divorced. The maximum amount a widow over 60 years old may receive is the amount the deceased spouse was receiving or would have received at the time of death. Because the SSA regulations specifically yield to the definition of "marriage" used by the state in which a couple lives, the SSA has lagged behind other federal departments in providing for same-sex couples.
Other federal agencies have taken similar steps to ensure the inclusion of same-sex couples in administrative processes. Earlier this month the US Department of Education [official website] announced [JURIST report] that for the purposes of applying for and receiving federal student financial aid, the federal government will now recognize all legal same-sex marriages.On the same day as the Department of Education's announcement, the US Customs and Border Protection said [Time report] it will expand the definition of "members of a family residing in a household" to include same-sex couples and other domestic relationships so as to facilitate the declarations process.
While the Windsor decision did not create a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, it does entitle couples in lawfully recognized same-sex marriages to certain federal benefits. In September the US Department of Labor [official website] issued guidance explaining [JURIST report] that all legally married same-sex spouses in the US can participate in employee benefit plans overseen by the Employee Benefits Security Administration [official website]. Earlier in September the US Department of Justice [official website] announced [JURIST report] that it will no longer enforce a federal law that denies same-sex spouses veterans benefits. In August the US Treasury Department [official website] announced that it, along with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) [official website], will recognize marriages [JURIST report] of all same-sex couples for federal tax purposes.
- EU high court rules same-sex couples entitled to same benefits as married couples (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Friday, April 5, 2013
A reduction or rationing of medical care through Medicare will remove the safety net available to
In those states when there is a "reverse offset." the workers' compensation insurance carrier takes an offset when combined benefits exceed the ACE (Average Current Earning) before the onset of lost time, reduction of COLA (Cost of Livening Assessment) the carriers will be required to pay more dollars.
"President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say."
Click here to read the complete article: "Obama Budget Reviving Offer of Compromise With Cuts" NYT
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
|The Hon. David Langham|
In May, the Fiscal Times reported that Social Security Disability is in financial trouble. Hardly news, that has been heard for years and has been either ignored or given lip service. No real solutions have been brought to the table. Unfortunately, in America issues with disability programs like Social Security and workers' compensation tend to get attention when there is a crisis.
What is news is that the sky is perhaps falling more rapidly than they predicted. The Fiscal Times says that the SSDI cash flow will run dry in 2016. Their prediction leads to the conclusion that this is no longer a problem that can be kicked down the road to the next group of elected representatives. The insolvency will either be dealt with or the repercussions felt in the next Congress.
According to the Fiscal Times in May 2014, eleven million Americans are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI). According to Census.gov the U.S. population is about 318 million, so about three percent of the population is receiving SSDI.
The average SSDI recipient is drawing...
[Click here to see the rest of this post]
Florida's Pace is Impressive (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Detroit's Bankruptcy Signals a Failure in Disability Compensation Programs in the US (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Its Déjà Vu All Over Again (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Constitutional Challenges New and Old, From Florida to Oklahoma (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Florida Workers' Compensation FIlings Continue to Decrease (workers-compensation.blogspot.com)
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Supplement Benefit Bill for Surviving Dependents of Essential Coronavirus Workers Passed by NJ Legislature
The NJ Legislature has now passed S2476. It provides supplemental benefit payments to the dependents of essential employees who died in the course of employment due to the contraction of coronavirus disease 2019.