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SSDI: A Bedrock of Security for American Workers

July 2nd, 2015 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Imagine that tomorrow, while cleaning out your gutters, you fall off a ladder. You suffer a traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage, leaving you paralyzed, unable to speak, and with significantly impaired short- and long-term memory. Unable to work for the foreseeable future, you have no idea how you are going to support your [...]

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Preventing a Benefit Cut in SSDI

June 9th, 2015 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

As you have probably already heard, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund is projected to be exhausted at the end of 2016. If Congress does nothing, the 9 million workers with disabilities, and nearly 2 million of their spouses and children, who receive SSDI benefits will receive a 20% benefit cut. SSDI benefits [...]

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Pile on criticism

October 8th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog

Health & Disability Advocates federal policy director Lisa Ekman appeared on today’s Huffington Post Live to respond to rampant mischaracterization of the Social Security Disability program by numerous media outlets, including most recently, 60 Minutes.

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With enemies like these, who needs facts?

October 7th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Major news outlets are attacking Social Security Disability programs without examining the facts. We try to set the record straight.

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Don’t worry. But worry.

October 3rd, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Social Security benefits are protected for now, but the 2013 government shutdown will affect workers with disabilities and SSDI recipients. Here’s how.

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Take a picture, it’ll last longer

September 5th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog

The Social Security Administration just released a “snapshot” of programs in this handy dandy PDF, which includes link to online tools for estimating retirement and planning for some of the benefit programs. For a deeper dive into all 16 different social insurance programs — including Children’s SSI and dependent benefits for children of retired workers — [...]

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Not a hammock

August 30th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog

Review of Reuters column by Mark Miller “Five things you should know about Social Security.” Health & Disability Advocates social insurance expert quoted.

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In good company

July 16th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog

Today the Chicago Bar Association-Chicago Bar Foundation bestowed the high honor of the Thomas H. Morsch Award for outstanding career contributions in the field of public interest law on our very own Tom Yates. Here’s some excerpts of his remarks: I am honored and humbled to accept this award from Thomas Morsch and the Chicago [...]

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Just how important is SSDI anyway?

June 21st, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Health & Disability Advocates federal policy director participates in an Urban Institute panel on Social Security Disability Insurance: Challenges and Opportunities, and sums up results of their latest report on Social Security Disability Insurance programs.

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Measure twice, cut once

June 20th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Testimony to Congress from Health & Disability Advocates federal policy director on encouraging employment for those on Social Security Disability Insurance program

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The Sky Is Not Falling

May 31st, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

The Social Security Administration Board of Trustees released their annual report today regarding the financial health of the Social Security trust funds. And guess what? – Social Security isn’t “going broke.” There is no immediate crisis in the fiscal health of our social insurance programs. I repeat, no immediate crisis. What I am about to [...]

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There’s no place like home – if you can afford it.

May 30th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Affordable housing crisis hits people with disabilities especially hard. A new report, “Priced Out in 2012″ shows just how inadequate Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is to help people meet this basic human need.

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A Legacy of Making Work Work

April 26th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

The disability policy and advocacy community lost a key champion this week with the passing of Allen Jensen. Allen’s rich body of work improved the lives and work ability for millions of Americans across the country. Always proud of his Iowa heritage and Midwestern work ethic, Allen was quick to charm, and even quicker at [...]

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Out of the mouths of experts

April 10th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Highlights of a speech by former SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue provide a window into what smart Social Security reform efforts would look like.

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Chicago Tribune Gets Disability Wrong

April 6th, 2013 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Below is a letter to the editor that I submitted to the Chicago Tribune on April 5, 2013 in response to its editorial “Disability insurance, out of control.” It was published in the Local Voices section online and in some zoned sections of Chicagoland Health and Family on April 17, 2013.  I write to disagree with the views [...]

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Might as well blame the soup kitchen

April 4th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Every time I hear that some media outlet is doing a piece on the “disability program problem,” I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach. Why? Because despite the best of intentions, I know the story is going to leave the impression that somehow Social Security disability programs are broken and need to [...]

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More Chained What?

March 13th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

As the President looks for a grand bargain balanced between tax increases and spending cuts to get rid of the across the board cuts to discretionary spending known as the sequester, that really bad proposal to cut the cost of living adjustment for people receiving Social Security and other benefits I told you about back in [...]

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8 out of 10 Americans agree

February 7th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog

In this era of partisan bickering, there are few things most Americans agree about. According to a new poll by the National Academy of Social Insurance, protecting Social Security is one of them. NASI released the results last Friday. Among its findings: 74% of Republicans and 88% of Democrats say it is important to protect [...]

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Percent deemed disabled falls sharply

February 4th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Numbers from the Social Security Administration show that the percent of persons found disabled has fallen to nearly one-third in 2012–the lowest level in many years.  In other words, nearly two-thirds of those who applied for Social Security disability benefits whose cases were decided in 2012 were found not disabled and denied benefits.  For those [...]

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Redux on Tsk Tsk Grey Lady

February 1st, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Back in October, we criticized Nicholas Kristof’s article “Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy” on this blog and in the Huffington Post for misrepresenting how the SSI childhood disability program works and its impact on child recipients and their families.  We weren’t the only ones to take Mr. Kristof to task.  This week we learned that [...]

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Brave new inter webs

January 28th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog

“my Social Security” is a personalized online account for current and future recipients of Social Security and SSI benefits. It can now do more new 21st century stuff, like allow you to go online and instantly get an official benefit verification letter. This can be used to help access health coverage and state or local benefits, [...]

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Your Average Wait Time is…

January 27th, 2013 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

In July 2012, the Social Security Administration released data about current processing time for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims pending at the administrative law judge hearing level. These cases are handled by the Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODARs)—there are 165 Social Security ODARs that handle cases in [...]

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Chained what?

December 19th, 2012 · Comments Off · Blog

As the President and Congress are negotiating to avoid the fiscal cliff, the latest proposals include cuts to Social Security, including changing how the annual COLA (cost of living adjustment) is calculated. This would disproportionately affect the most vulnerable Americans — people with disabilities, seniors and retirees. Proponents of the new proposal support a wonky, [...]

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New York Times needs fact checkers

December 12th, 2012 · Comments Off · Blog

While “Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy” (Dec. 9) accurately underscores that antipoverty initiatives in the U.S. are “invisible” and lack “traction,” the Op-Ed makes two glaring errors about the childhood SSI program and then uses those mistakes to paint the entire program as misguided and wasteful.  First, Mr. Kristof suggests that children were and are [...]

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November is National Family Caregivers Month

November 14th, 2012 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

As millions of daughters, sons, parents, spouses, partners, friends and relatives become caregivers for aging and disabled relatives, it’s important to recognize the critical role that a responsible safety net plays in keeping individuals and families whole. President Obama released an official proclaimation, noting: Across America, daughters and sons balance the work of caring for [...]

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Tsk, tsk grey lady

October 24th, 2012 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Last Sunday’s New York Times published an article criticizing disability benefits available through Social Security. Too bad it was largely inaccurate. Health & Disability Advocates’ health policy expert, Joe Entwisle, authored this gentle letter, which we publish here as an Open Letter to the New York Times: Today’s Op-Ed, “The Disability Trap,” perpetuates a pervasive myth that [...]

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COLA that’s healthy for families

October 16th, 2012 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Today, the Social Security Administration announced that social security and supplemental security income beneficiaries will receive a 1.7 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2013. What does this mean?

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Three things families need to know about disability insurance

October 15th, 2012 · No Comments · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

That’s the question posed by thought leaders at the National Academy of Social Insurance, who invited me to present and pontificate.  If you want to get your full wonk on, you can watch the whole C-SPAN video and my PowerPoint presentation on how the Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, program is vitally important for people with disabilities. For [...]

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We take exception; it’s not the rule

July 26th, 2012 · Comments Off · Blog, Featured Home Page Post

Open letter to The New York Times submitted last week: The premise of Frank Bruni’s Individualism in Overdrive (July 17, Op-Ed) might be accurate, but his example of Social Security beneficiaries “bilking the government” is way off the mark.  Disability requirements are stringent – most people are denied – and many eligible people must go [...]

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Outliers in the field

February 17th, 2012 · Comments Off · Blog

An open letter to the editor submitted to The New York Times For 17 years, I have represented clients in both “blue” and “red” areas of the country in accessing public benefits programs.  The overwhelming majority of these individuals are grateful for the government programs that lift them out of poverty, and are sympathetic to [...]

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