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April 2013 Archives

Has the time finally come to fix Supplemental Security Income?

"SSI beneficiaries face the most severe levels of poverty of any group of Social Security beneficiaries," the head of the National Council on Disability, a federal agency tasked with giving independent policy information and advice to Congress and the White House, recently wrote to President Obama. "We urge you to incorporate common-sense program reforms to SSI designed to improve beneficiary well-being and enhance the ability of SSI beneficiaries to participate in the workforce."

Social Security disability judges sue over excessive caseloads

The Association of Administrative Law Judges, a union representing ALJs at federal agencies -- 85 percent of whom work for the Social Security Administration -- has filed a lawsuit against the SSA claiming that their caseloads are too high to allow Social Security disability appeals to be decided fairly. They also warned lawmakers that, because approving claims takes much less time than denying them, there is a substantial incentive to approve claims they might otherwise question.

Scientists invent a wristband that can predict epileptic seizures

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have just announced that they have discovered a non-invasive way to predict disabling epileptic seizures in advance. While many people with epilepsy are not considered disabled, many do not respond as well to treatment. When seizures are frequent, long in duration, or have disabling side-effects, and persist despite appropriate medication, the sufferer may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Is SSD 'hidden welfare'? No, that's another myth, say researchers

Last month, National Public Radio presented an enormous, six-part series on Social Security disability. The series attempted, in part, to explain the rising number of disability claims as an element of a "hidden welfare" system that has arisen due to desperate economic conditions and the Welfare reforms passed during the Clinton administration. While well-meaning, the series painted a picture of people who, locked out of federal Welfare programs by lifetime benefit limitations and unable to find jobs, game the system to unfairly obtain Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

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