Much of the news that has come out lately regarding the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit programs has focused on recent major scandals involving fraud against the Social Security Administration (SSA). Unfortunately, these negative headlines have served to take the focus away from the assistance that these programs provide to countless people here in St. Louis and throughout the rest of the country.
The SSA recently announced proposed changes aimed at revising some aspects of its evaluation process for qualifying applicants for disability benefits. This comes after a significant increase in the number of benefit applications the agency received during the most recent economic downturn. This increased workload saw agency resources strained as they never had been before, pushing 2013 payouts to over $140 billion. With their financial resources predicted to run out by 2016, top agency officials are hopeful that such changes will help make the qualification process more efficient while also cutting down on potential fraud and easing the workload of those judges and staffers charged with conducting appeals hearings.
Yet such proposals may prove to be too little, too late. Recent chatter from Washington seems to indicate that the chair of the House subcommittee overseeing the SSA is planning to call for a thorough review of its management structure during upcoming hearings in which the SSA Inspector General and the acting commissioner are expected to testify.
Change has been rumored to have been coming to the SSDI/SSI benefit programs for quite some time now. One may assume that a federal review of the SSA would prompt those changes to happen sooner rather than later. Those wanting to stay updated on this news may wish to speak with a Social Security attorney.
Source: The Wall Street Journal “Key Lawmaker Seeks Disability Fraud Review” Damian Paletta, Jan. 16, 2014