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Information For Agencies And Other Organizations: How To Get Proof Of Social Security Numbers Or Benefits

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Information For Agencies And Other Organizations: How To Get Proof Of Social Security Numbers Or Benefits (PDF)
Source: Social Security Administration

To efficiently meet the needs of the public, we will begin phasing-in two service changes. Effective August 1, 2014, we will stop providing Social Security number (SSN) printouts and, effective October 1, 2014, we will offer benefit verifications in our field offices only in emergency situations, in cases of hardship, or when a benefit verification is needed and cannot be obtained through another service channel. In January 2013, we made benefit verifications available online. The public can get an instant letter online with a personal my Social Security account, or they may continue to call us toll-free to request a letter by mail. Our local offices will continue to do all that they can to assist members of the community. Since we now offer more convenient services, we are asking agencies and other organizations to use our specially developed online methods to obtain this information and assist our mutual customers in adjusting to this change.

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Important Information About Social Security Benefits For Same-Sex Couples (updated)

June 23, 2014 Comments off

Important Information About Social Security Benefits For Same-Sex Couples (PDF)
Source: Social Security Administration

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Therefore, Social Security no longer is prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of determining entitlement to or eligibility for benefits. Social Security is now processing some retirement, surviving spouse and lump-sum death payment claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. If you are in, or are a surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage or other legal same-sex relationship, we encourage you to apply right away for benefits. You can apply for most benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.

We also are considering same-sex marriages when processing some claims for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Marriage may affect your SSI eligibility or payment amount.

Earnings and Employment Data for Workers Covered Under Social Security and Medicare, by State and County, 2011

May 23, 2014 Comments off

Earnings and Employment Data for Workers Covered Under Social Security and Medicare, by State and County, 2011
Source: Social Security Administration

Social Security

  • In 2011, 158.6 million workers had earnings taxable under the Social Security program. About 140.9 million had only wages, 10.4 million had only self-employment income, and 7.3 million had both.
  • Social Security taxable earnings totaled $5.487 trillion, which includes earnings up to the taxable maximum of $106,800.
  • Social Security taxes totaled about 680 billion.

Medicare

  • In 2011, 162.6 million workers had earnings taxable under the Medicare program. About 144.1 million had only wages, 10.2 million had only self-employment income, and 8.4 million had both.
  • Medicare taxable earnings totaled $6.810 trillion.
  • Medicare taxes totaled about $197 billion.

SSA — The Medical Improvement Review Standard During Continuing Disability Reviews

May 22, 2014 Comments off

The Medical Improvement Review Standard During Continuing Disability Reviews
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General

Under the Medical Improvement Review Standard (MIRS), an individual’s disability continues unless the (1) disabling condition has improved since the last favorable disability determination and (2) individual can engage in substantial gainful activity.

SSA may apply an exception to MIRS. The exceptions allow a finding that disability ceased in limited situations without showing medical improvement occurred, but evidence clearly showed the person should no longer be, or should never have been, considered disabled.

The purpose of this report was to (a) determine whether SSA would consider beneficiaries disabled using the Initial Disability Standard, rather than MIRS, during continuing disability reviews (CDR) and (b) evaluate data on the MIRS exceptions.

Social Security — Disability Benefits (updated May 2014)

May 13, 2014 Comments off

Disability Benefits (PDF)
Source: Social Security Administration

Disability is something most people do not like to think about. But the chances that you will become disabled probably are greater than you realize. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

This booklet provides basic information on Social Security disability benefits and is not intended to answer all questions. For specific information about your situation, you should talk with a Social Security representative.

We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security disability insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This booklet is about the Social Security disability program. For information about the SSI disability program for adults, see Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (Publication No. 05-11000). For information about disability programs for children, refer to Benefits For Children With Disabilities (Publication No. 05-10026). Our publications are available online at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Just Arrived! Top 10 Baby Names for 2013

May 9, 2014 Comments off

Top 10 Baby Names for 2013
Source: Social Security Administration

Boys

  1. Noah
  2. Liam
  3. Jacob
  4. Mason
  5. William
  6. Ethan
  7. Michael
  8. Alexander
  9. Jayden
  10. Daniel

Girls

  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Isabella
  5. Ava
  6. Mia
  7. Emily
  8. Abigail
  9. Madison
  10. Elizabeth

SSA OIG — The Social Security Administration’s Progress in Reducing the Initial Disability Claims Backlog

May 6, 2014 Comments off

The Social Security Administration’s Progress in Reducing the Initial Disability Claims Backlog (PDF)
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General
From Summary (PDF)

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, SSA expected initial d isability claims pending would exceed 1 million. Therefore , SSA established a goal to achieve a pending level of 525,000 initial disability claims by FY 2014. SSA took actions to reduce the initial disability claims backlog. As a result, SSA reduced the backlog from a high of about 842,000 claims at the end of FY 2010 to 698,000 claims by the end of FY 2013.

Based on SSA’s most recent projections for initial claims receipts and clearances, the pending level will not reach the levels previously expected. With the FY 2014 funding level and the funding level anticipated for FY 2015, SSA expects to make progress in reducing the initial claims backlog while keeping average processing times consistent. If the anticipated funding and productivity remain unchanged, SSA and OIG’s collective estimates indicate the pending level will remain lower than the FY 2013 level through FY 2016. However, the pending level will not be reduced to 525,000 claims.

According to SSA, because of budget uncertainty, it was no longer striving to achieve its previous pending level goal of 525,000 claims, and it had not established a new goal for an ideal pending level. To reduce initial disability claims pending to an ideal level, it is important to have a goal. Further, the goal must be attainable within a timeframe allowed by SSA’s resources and take into consideration an acceptable processing time for initial claims and other workloads that need DDS resources.

Income of the Aged Chartbook, 2012

May 5, 2014 Comments off

Income of the Aged Chartbook, 2012
Source: Social Security Administration

Since 1941, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has periodically surveyed the aged to determine their economic status. The first national survey was conducted in 1963. In 1976, SSA’s Office of Research and Statistics began compiling a biennial series of reports on the income of the aged based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in its Current Population Survey. These SSA reports are published under the title Income of the Population 55 or Older. The most recent edition of that publication is based on 2012 data, which, along with special tabulations, form the basis of this chartbook.

This publication covers the population aged 65 or older. The unit of analysis here, with the exception of measures of poverty and family income of persons, is the aged unit, which is a married couple living together or a person who does not live with a spouse. A married couple’s age is defined as the age of the husband—unless he is under age 55 and the wife is 55 or older, in which case it is the age of the wife. The race and Hispanic origin of a married couple are determined by the husband. The unit of analysis for poverty is persons aged 65 or older.

SSDI — Full Medical Continuing Disability Review Cessations Reversed at the Reconsideration Level of Appeal

April 30, 2014 Comments off

Full Medical Continuing Disability Review Cessations Reversed at the Reconsideration Level of Appeal
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General

The Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts continuing diability reviews (CDR) on Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability recipients to determine whether they remain medically eligible for disability payments. Individuals profiled as having a high likelihood of medical improvement undergo a full medical CDR by a disability determination services (DDS). A cessation determination is made when a CDR reveals medical improvement had occurred and an individual no longer meets the requirements for disability benefits.

When a full medical CDR results in a cessation determination, the individual can request a reconsideration. CDR reconsiderations consist of the pre-hearing and disability hearing levels, where a determination is made by a disability hearing officer.

The purpose of this report was to determine why full medical CDR cessation determinations were reversed at the reconsideration level of appeal.

Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2012 (released April 2014)

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2012
Source: Social Security Administration

This biennial report presents detailed statistical information on the major sources and amounts of income for people aged 55 or older. The tabulations focus on the major sources of total income by age, sex, marital status, race, and Hispanic origin. Several tables describe the economic situation of the aged with varying levels of Social Security benefits. Their poverty status is presented in terms of the income of the families they live with.

SSA OIG — Audit Report: Improper Use of Children’s Social Security Numbers

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Audit Report: Improper Use of Children’s Social Security Numbers
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General

As part of the Annual Wage Reporting process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) verifies the names and SSNs on Wage and Tax Statements (Form W-2) to ensure the reported name and SSN is accurate before SSA posts the information from the W-2 to the Master Earnings File. When SSA’s data indicate a wage earner is a child age 6 or younger, SSA places the earnings in the Earnings Suspense File (ESF), a repository for unmatched wage items, and assigns a Young Children’s Earnings (YCER) indicator. SSA mails notices to employers and employees to confirm the children legitimately earned the wages. However, SSA does not have a process for children between ages 7 and 13. SSA posts these children’s wages to their earnings records.

In addition, if the data include a date of death, SSA places in the ESF all the earnings reported after the year of death and assigns an Earnings After Death indicator. SSA sends notices to the employers and employees to confirm employment.

The purpose of this audit was to determine whether employees were improperly using children’s SSNs for work purposes.

Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2013

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2013
Source: Social Security Administration

This fourth issue in the current four-volume series of Social Security Programs Throughout the World reports on the countries of the Americas. The combined findings of this series, which also includes volumes on Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Europe, are published at six-month intervals over a two-year period. Each volume highlights features of social security programs in the particular region.

The information contained in these volumes is crucial to our efforts, and those of researchers in other countries, to review different ways of approaching social security challenges that will enable us to adapt our social security systems to the evolving needs of individuals, households, and families. These efforts are particularly important as each nation faces major demographic changes, especially the increasing number of aged persons, as well as economic and fiscal issues.

Social Security Programs Throughout the World is the product of a cooperative effort between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA). The ISSA is the principal international institution bringing together social security agencies and orgranizations around the world. Founded in 1927, the ISSA is located at the International Labour Office in Geneva.

Previous editions of this report, which date back to 1937, were issued as one volume and were prepared by SSA staff. With the introduction of the four-volume format in 2002, however, the research and writing has been contracted out to the ISSA. The ISSA has conducted the research largely through its numerous country-based correspondents, as well as its social security databases and other types of data that are drawn together to update this report. Social Security Programs Throughout the World is based on legislation in effect in July 2013, or the last date for which information has been received by SSA or ISSA.

Perspectives: Immigrants and Retirement Resources

March 14, 2014 Comments off

Immigrants and Retirement Resources
Source: Social Security Administraton

The extensive literature documenting differences in wages between immigrant and native-born workers suggests that immigrants may enter retirement at a significant financial disadvantage relative to workers born in the United States. However, little work has examined differences in retirement resources and retirement security between immigrants and natives. In this article, we use data from the Health and Retirement Study linked with restricted data from the Social Security Administration to compare retirement resources of immigrants and natives. Our results suggest that while immigrants have lower levels of Social Security benefits than natives, when holding demographic characteristics constant, immigrants have higher levels of net worth. The estimated immigrant differentials vary a great deal by number of years in the United States, with the most recent immigrants being the least prepared for retirement.

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants, 2010 Update (released February 2014)

March 10, 2014 Comments off

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants, 2010 Update
Source: Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) produces several statistical publications based on the data used to administer the Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Although these data are extensive, they do not capture many of the economic and demographic characteristics of program participants. To better understand those beneficiary populations, SSA matches information from its administrative records with data collected by the Census Bureau in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). DeCesaro and Hemmeter (2008) contains tables describing the characteristics of DI and SSI program participants based on 2002 data. This note updates those tables with data for 2010.

Social Security — Same-Sex Couples — FAQs

February 27, 2014 Comments off

Same-Sex Couples — FAQs
Source: Social Security Administration

  • What should I do if I think I might be eligible for benefits?
  • When will Social Security begin paying benefits to same-sex married couples and surviving spouses?
  • Do I qualify for benefits if I am now in, or the surviving spouse of, a civil union or other legal same-sex relationship?
  • Do I qualify for benefits if I live in a place that prohibits or does not recognize same-sex marriages or other legal same-sex relationships?
  • How does the recent Supreme Court decision about the Defense of Marriage Act affect Social Security benefits?
  • Will Social Security recognize a same-sex marriage if the ceremony took place in a foreign country?
  • What if I apply but Social Security decides I do not qualify for benefits? Will I receive a penalty or fine?
  • I am in a same-sex marriage. Could that affect my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment?
  • I get Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Must I tell Social Security I am in a same-sex marriage?

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey

February 3, 2014 Comments off

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey
Source: Social Security Administration

African Americans encounter significant economic disadvantages, making them a critical focus for social insurance programs. Examining how the African American population uses Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI, or Social Security) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments clarifies the role these programs play in supporting at-risk populations.

Earlier research has explored various facets of the relationship between Social Security and African Americans. For instance, many studies investigate African Americans’ low retirement benefit receipt rates relative to whites (Abbott 1977, 1980; Thompson 1975; Huntley 1979; Parsons 1980; Gibson 1987, 1991, 1994; Farley 1988; Hayward, Friedman, and Chen 1996; O’Rand 1996; Gendell and Siegel 1996; Choi 1997; Hendley and Bilimoria 1999; Gustman and Steinmeier 2004; Bridges and Choudhury 2007, 2009; Favreault 2010). Others examine the prominent role of children’s benefits for African Americans (Newcomb 2003/2004; Tamborini, Cupito, and Shoffner 2011). This analysis contributes to that body of research by using a relatively new, publicly available, and comprehensive data source, the American Community Survey (ACS), to document the demographic and economic characteristics of African American OASDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients. It is designed to lay the groundwork for future detailed analyses of how African Americans interact with Social Security and related programs.

In this note, we first discuss the strengths of the ACS and the methodology of this analysis. Next, we present the demographic and economic characteristics of the African American population in the 2009 ACS. Then, we present ACS data on OASDI and SSI participation and benefit levels, comparing African American participants with overall participants in three age distributions: the full age range for which benefit statistics are available in the ACS (15 or older), working age (18–61), and retirement age (62 or older).

Growth in New Disabled-Worker Entitlements, 1970–2008

November 19, 2013 Comments off

Growth in New Disabled-Worker Entitlements, 1970–2008
Source: Social Security Administration

We find that three factors—(1) population growth, (2) the growth in the proportion of women insured for disability, and (3) the movement of the large baby boom generation into disability-prone ages—explain 90 percent of the growth in new disabled-worker entitlements over the 36-year subperiod (1972–2008). The remaining 10 percent is the part attributable to the disability “incidence rate.” Looking at the two subperiods (1972–1990 and 1990–2008), unadjusted measures appear to show faster growth in the incidence rate in the later period than in the earlier one. This apparent speedup disappears once we account for the changing demographic structure of the insured population. Although the adjusted growth in the incidence rate accounts for 17 percent of the growth in disability entitlements in the earlier subperiod, it accounts for only 6 percent of the growth in the more recent half. Demographic factors explain the remaining 94 percent of growth over the 1990–2008 period.

The Projected Effects of Social Security Benefit Increase Options for Older Beneficiaries

November 19, 2013 Comments off

The Projected Effects of Social Security Benefit Increase Options for Older Beneficiaries
Source: U.S. Social Security Administration

Many reform plans designed to return the Social Security program to long-term solvency also include a benefit increase targeted toward older beneficiaries. Policymakers use two core rationales for such targeted increases. First, older beneficiaries tend to be more economically vulnerable and reliant on the income Social Security provides. Second, certain benefit reductions (such as changes to cost-of-living adjustments) can compound over time, and including a benefit increase for older retirees in a larger reform plan can ameliorate those reductions.

Generally, the benefit increase proposals provide slightly larger monthly benefits starting at around age 80, but can vary along multiple lines. This policy brief analyzes two options, and projects their respective effects. The two options vary in how the benefit increase is calculated:

  • The Individual PIA plan provides an increase of 5 percent of the individual’s primary insurance amount (PIA), which is the benefit an individual will receive based on lifetime earnings, if retirement benefits start at the normal retirement age.
  • The Average PIA plan provides an increase of 5 percent of the average PIA for all retired workers, rather than an individual’s own PIA.

We analyze those two particular provisions because they appear in various publicly available reform plans. Both 5 percent targets may appear identical when described only as “a 5 percent benefit increase,” but they can produce different outcomes for beneficiaries.

Our analysis focuses on beneficiaries aged 85 or older in 2030 and we express the results as percentage differences from scheduled benefits under current law. We do not project the relative costs of the proposals.

The analysis is based on data from the Modeling Income in the Near Term model, version 6 (MINT6). MINT6 includes data for respondents to the 2001 and 2004 Surveys of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), matched to Social Security administrative records through 2009. For 2010 and later, MINT6 projects life events, earnings, and benefits for those respondents.

Just Released — Top 10 Baby Names For 2012

May 10, 2013 Comments off

Top 10 Baby Names For 2012

Source: Social Security Administration

1 Jacob Sophia

2 Mason Emma

3 Ethan Isabella

4 Noah Olivia

5 William Ava

6 Liam Emily

7 Jayden Abigail

8 Michael Mia

9 Alexander Madison

10 Aiden Elizabeth

New From the GAO

May 8, 2013 Comments off

New From the GAO

Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Transportation Worker Identification Credential: Card Reader Pilot Results Are Unreliable; Security Benefits Need to be Reassessed. GAO-13-198, May 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-198
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654432.pdf

2. Internal Revenue Service: Preliminary Observations on the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request. GAO-13-599R, May 3.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-599R

Testimonies

1. Social Security Administration: Preliminary Observations on the Death Master File, by Daniel Bertoni, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-13-574T, May 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-574T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654412.pdf

2. Homeland Security: DHS and TSA Continue to Face Challenges Developing and Acquiring Screening Technologies, by Stephen M. Lord, director, forensic audits and investigative services, before the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, House Committee on Homeland Security. GAO-13-469T, May 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-469T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654420.pdf

3. Department of Energy: Observations on Project and Program Cost Estimating in NNSA and the Office of Environmental Management, by David Trimble, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senate Committee on Armed Services. GAO-13-510T, May 8. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-510T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/654424.pdf

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