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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query social security. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query social security. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Social Security raise to be among lowest in years

Social Security payments are tightly kinked to workers' compensation disability payments. When there are increases in benefits, some "reverse offset" states are liberal in passing along the adjustments to injured workers'. The State of New Jersey does NOT pass along the benefit increase and the workers' compensation insurance company does NOT increase the disability award payment to the injured workers. Today's post is shared from the

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...
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Social Security 2012: The Good News and The Bad News

The good news is the announcement by Social Security that the rate of payment will increase 3.6% The bad news that Part B Medicare premiums will offset the payment.

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.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Social Security Disability: Get the evidence you need

Today's post comes from Roger Moore of the Nebraska Bar.

Social Security Disability applicants sometimes have trouble getting the evidence needed to demonstrate that they have a disability.

  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 Disability: Get the Evidence You Need

Guest Blog by by Roger Moore a member of the Nebraska Bar

Take the right steps to make sure this doesn't happen to you!
Social Security Disability applicants sometimes have trouble getting the evidence needed to demonstrate that they have a disability.
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.
While your attorney may invite your doctor to schedule an appointment with you so that they can gather the correct information, doctors often do not do this, and may complete your report with incomplete knowledge of your physical condition.
SOLUTION: It is important for you to educate your doctor about your limitations every time you see them, so that when they have to fill out a disability report, they will have a basis of knowledge to complete the report with.
Whether your disability is physical, mental, or some combination of the two, make sure to give your doctor specific examples of your limitations each time you see them. Talk to your doctor about what you can and cannot do such as:
  • how much you can lift,
  • how long you can stand for,
  • how much you can do with your hands,
  • or how easily you can handle social interactions.
Take the right steps to make sure that you get the evidence you need to support your Social Security Disability claim!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

U.S. Halts Effort to Collect Old Social Security Debts

Today's post was shared by The New York Times and comes from

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...
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lack of Medical Evaluators Delays Social Security Claims Processing

Guest blog by Rodger D. Moore
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:  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Workers Compensation Taxable Rules US Tax Court

Seal of the United States Tax Court. Source: h...Image via WikipediaThe US Tax Court has ruled that workers' compensation payments are not excluded from US income tax under Section 104(a)(1) if they are paid as a Social Security Setoff Section 86(d)(3).

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.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accidents and injuries.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

2018 Social Security Changes - COLA Increases

The Social Security Administration has announced based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2016 through the third quarter of 2017, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 2.0 percent COLA for 2018.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Some Surprising 2016 SSA-DIB Statistics

Size and Scope of the Social Security Disability Program
  1. Disability benefits were paid to almost 10.2 million people. 
  2. Awards to disabled workers (706,448) accounted for 88 percent of awards to all disabled beneficiaries (799,330). 
  3. In December, payments to disabled beneficiaries totaled more than $11.3 billion. 
  4. Benefits were terminated for 820,372 disabled workers. 
  5. Supplemental Security Income payments were another source of income for about one out of six disabled beneficiaries. 
 Profile of Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries 
  1. Workers accounted for the largest share of disabled beneficiaries (87 percent). 
  2. The average age was 54. 
  3. Men represented less than 52 percent. 
  4. The largest category of diagnoses was diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (32.3 percent). 
  5. Average monthly benefit received was $1,171.15. 
  6. 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

Totally Injured Workers Maybe Getting an Increase in Benefits

The proposed Trump Administration 2019 Budget (p. 115) may allow NJ workers’ compensation beneficiaries to receive an increase in benefits. By eliminating the Social Security “reverse offset,” totally and permanently injured NJ workers will receive a triennial annual COLA increase.

“The Budget includes a re-proposal to eliminate reverse offsets in fifteen states where Workers' Compensation (WC) benefits and temporary disability insurance benefits (TDI) are offset instead of DI benefits."

Friday, February 3, 2017

Declining Earnings Capacity - A Retrogressive Penalty for Ill Workers

The decline of the earning capacity of ill workers prior to stopping work has an impact on both workers' compensation benefits as well as Social Security disability benefits. It is  a retrogressive penalty for chronically ill workers.

The Social Security Administration in a recent report objectively reports this phenomena.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Do I Need To File A Tax Return On My Workers Compensation?

Today's post comes from guest author Paul J. McAndrew, Jr. from Paul McAndrew Law Firm.

If you received workers’ compensation benefits, you may be wondering if you will need to report this money to the IRS and pay taxes on it. Under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act, money that you receive as workers’ compensation benefits is not taxable, with a few exceptions. You will have to pay taxes on your work comp benefits if:
  • 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.
If you return to work, your salary will be taxable again, as is it was before you received workers’ compensation benefits.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Employer Not Permitted to Stop Temporary Disability Benefits When Social Security Disability Awarded

An employer cannot stop paying workers' compensation benefits merely because the injured worker was awarded Social Security Disability benefits. In fact, the premature termination of temporary disability benefits was adequate grounds for a NJ compensation court to levy fines and penalties upon the employer.

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

Delays Continue to Soar for Social Security Disability Determinations

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

Social Security at a Critical Crossroads

The last safety net for injured workers, Social Security, is now facing severe economic challenges ahead. At a recent hearing before the US House Ways and Means Committee testimony was presented that the system is now at a critical crossroad because of a surge in disability applications complicated by an increasing administrative backlog.

Beth Bates, testified on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, “...The wave of new claims is having a very significant impact at the state Disability Determination Services (DDSs) that will eventually affect the hearing level.  At the DDS levels (initial and reconsideration), the number of new applications, applications waiting for a decision, and processing times are all on the rise.  In fiscal year (FY) 2009, SSA received 385,000 new claims, an increase of nearly 15% since the end of FY 2008.  Even more worrisome is the growing backlog of pending initial claims at the DDSs, i.e., those waiting for a decision, up nearly 40% since the end of FY 2008.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NJ COLA Bill - Legislative Hearing Scheduled

The NJ Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on a pending COLA bill S613 to increase benefits on 12/5/2013 1:00:00 PM.

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

subsequent years.

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.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Obama administration to begin processing Social Security payments to same-sex couples

Same sex marriages are now going to be recognized as beneficiaries for Social Security purposes. Today's post is shared from

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.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Obama Administration Proposed Social Budget Cut Places More Stress on Workers' Compensation

It has been reported that the Obama Administration will soon propose budgetary cuts in social welfare programs. Those cuts may produce further economic stress on the nation's financially beleaguered workers' compensation system.

A reduction or rationing of medical care through Medicare will remove the safety net available to
injured workers who have been denied workers' compensation benefits initially and are delayed in the administrative/adjudicatory process.

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 First Social Program Bankruptcy is Upon Us

The Hon. David Langham 
The network of social insurance programs is tightly integrated in the United States. The economic integrity of Social Security may have tremendous impact on workers' compensation programs. Today's guest post is by The Hon. David Langham who is the Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims and Division of Administrative Hearings

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 the U.S. population is about 318 million, so about three percent of the population is receiving SSDI.

The average SSDI recipient is drawing...
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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.