Friday, May 18, 2012

Political Calculations on Social Security disability


Rightardia reported that many seniors were filing for  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they lost their jobs, particularly after unemployment benefits were lost. Political Calculations indicated there was, indeed a spike in these claims.

SSDI neds to be distinguished from  Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Some Americans who "forgot" to pay the FICA payroll tax may be eligible for SSI when they reach 65. 

These people don't have the 40 quarters they need for normal Social Security benefits. Most states will provide Medicare services to people who receive SSI. 

Many of the SSI applicants are immigrants who haven't lived in the US long enough to meet the 40 quarter requirement for regular Social Security benefits. 

Others are the self-employed who "forgot' to pay the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll tax. This was evident during the Gulf oil spill when fisherman were applying for compensation form BP but had no income tax records or W2 forms to document their incomes. 

Florida reported expenditures of $7,585,541.72 for calendar year 2010 in state administered payments to SSI recipients Texas reported $333,783 for SSI payments in the same period. 

Mississippi provide no data on SSI and does not provide any medical assistance to people on SSI disability. 

Rightardia suggests that Medicare is not appropriate for people on SSI. SSI recipients should be able to receive medical assistance through Medicaid. This does appear to be an area where they federal government should be able to trim expenditures

Rightradia is a progressive blog, but we don't see any basis for providing Medicare Part A (hospitalization) or Part B (private practice physicians) to SSI recipients.

Part A is "free," but part B is not. Medicare recipients must elect to pay for part B. 

Many of these SSI recipients have not paid a dime in FICA payroll tax during their lifetimes! 

SSDI has a age based threshold 

Age 50 is a government threshold  for claimants filing for social security disability. 

If you had two claimants with nearly identical disabilities and backgrounds and one of them is older than 50, the older claimant is more likely to receive disability benefits. 

Claimants younger than 50 simply have a harder evidentary burden to overcome.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) believes that claimants under age 50 have not yet reached an age that limits their ability to adjust to other work. 

Is it fair  if you are 47 and have the same disability as a claimant who is 51? 

But in defense of the SSA policy, there has to be some point where advanced age significantly becomes a factor.

SSA disability is considered an adversary based system whereas the Veteran Affairs (VA) disability system is not. However, Social Security is a more efficient system that complete most claims in about two years while the VA takes about four.

The major found it was easier to deal with SSA for disability than the VA. if you are declared disabled under SSDI, this may help you with you VA disability, but there are some "ifs, ands and buts."

If you have SSDI and your conditions worsens even though it is not "service connected," The VA is obligated to increase your disability rating.


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