Social Security benefits are always hard-won by past contributions and often hard-won in the tough claims process for disability. This is why beneficiaries and their families must be exceptionally vigilant for attempts to defraud or steal Social Security payments from them.
Social Security is in place to help workers receive disability and retirement benefits. Family members can receive children's, spousal or survivor benefits based on a worker's Social Security record. There are limits, though, to how much the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay on one person's history of work. This is called the family maximum limit.
Cuts have been proposed by the administration for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The reasons for the cuts appear poor. There are allegations that the program is growing, is out-of-control, that there is fraud, that the program is too easy to grant benefits and that it encourages individuals to quit working.
In a recent rule change, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has changed the way in which it will view statements from an applicant's treating physician. Previously, statements of the treating physician had been according "significant weight" as evidence of disability in an application for Social Security Disability benefits.
The federal government is a large organization. It employees more than 2.6 million workers, and more than 4.1 million if you include the military. Many of those jobs demand advanced degrees, including doctors, scientists and lawyers. This means federal payroll makes up a significant part of the federal budget. And this makes it an attractive target when it comes to attempting to save money from that budget.
One of the difficulties many applicants for SSD run into is the need for their medical records. Because the application is designed to demonstrate to the disability claims examiner that they suffer from physical or mental impairments that make it impossible for them to continue to work, medical records are important. These records provide the most compelling, objective evidence related to their health and ability to function.
Sometimes, systems are designed to be difficult. Consider most retail rebate programs. They require you send in various documentation, such as UPC labels and the correct form within a short time frame in order to receive the rebate payment. Most of this process is intentionally designed to be cumbersome and difficult, in an effort to cause many individuals to make mistakes, forget or simply abandon the process because it seems too difficult.
Bureaucracies rarely like to state things in a forthright manner. Bureaucrats recognize they are embedded within an organization, and their progression "up the ladder" depends on their pleasing their bosses. This means issues are often obscured or numbers are manipulated to make situations look better than they are in reality. The Social Security Administration is one of the largest government bureaucracies, and its "bosses" are the members of Congress.
The Social Security Administration maintains many important pieces of data involving most Americans. One of the most important is the list known as the Master Death File (MDF). Because SSA is responsible for paying disability and retirement benefits for millions of Americans, it is necessary that it keep close track of when beneficiaries die. Given the size of the system, failure to keep accurate records could lead to millions of dollars in overpayments from a system that is already financially stressed.
A dollar doesn't go as far as it did at one time. A soda from a vending machine may have cost 25 cents and a new car or truck may have had a sticker price under $10,000. Inflation leads to prices rising and needing more dollars to buy the same products.