We filed this case to stop SSA from attempting to collect “overpayments” from very low income people over 65 and people with disabilities receiving SSI who had been married to someone of the same sex on or before June 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Read More
We watched the recent Democratic debate with hopes of hearing some plans for addressing the growing crisis of poverty and inequality in our nation. Would any of the candidates really talk about poverty? Would would any of them even mention the 6.4 million senior citizens living in poverty?
1. Women over 75 are at particular risk of poverty. According to the official poverty measure, 14.7% of women over age 75 live in poverty. This is nearly double the rate of men in this age group (7.6%). America’s oldest women also experience significantly higher poverty rates than women 65 to 75 (10.1%) years old. This data confirms what we already knew – that women are more likely than their male counterparts to be poor as they age. This is the result of a variety of economic and social policies that we have yet to address. This video provides a window into what life is like for older women struggling in poverty. Today’s data also demonstrates something else significant – that the older women grow, the more likely they are to be poor. This is an important reminder that any data that looks just at people 65 and over as a single, monolithic group will significantly undercount the challenges of poverty facing older adults that are in their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. Read More
The misguided policy that nearly made Rosa Martinez homeless is rearing its ugly head again. Rosa Martinez, a California woman whose disability benefits were stopped because the Social Security Administration mistook her for a Florida woman with the same name, was Justice in Aging’s lead Plaintiff in the case Martinez v. Astrue.
Imagine if there were a program that would help older adults living in poverty meet their basic needs: pay for rent, buy groceries, and stay safe and warm. Imagine if this same solution also helped people with disabilities of all ages. Sounds pretty powerful, right?
January 2014 — An issue brief from the National Senior Citizens Law Center says that the Social Security Administration needs a uniform system in place to input and track appeals by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and to ensure that all requests for reconsideration are logged in upon receipt in a district office. It provides an overview of how those who have a legitimate basis for challenging benefit suspensions and reductions.
September 2013 — An NSCLC issue brief, Why SSI Needs an Appeal Process That Works, provides an overview of how Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients are harmed when the Social Security Administration decides to stop or decrease their benefits, and they have a legitimate challenge to that decision but have no effective means of presenting their side of the case.
If SSI recipients are going to have their benefits reduced or suspended for financial or other non-medical eligibility reasons, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must notify them, and by law, they have a right to appeal the agency’s decision.
Unfortunately, SSA too often does not follow required due process safeguards in cases involving appeals to non-disability determinations. For example, they may lose the paper work, fail to continue benefits for someone even when they filed a timely appeal, and delay case reviews and conferences.
The issue brief is part of a series of reports that will reveal specific problems with the SSI non-disability appeals process.
In a Policy Issue Brief entitled SSI Transfer Penalty: Harsh Consequences Need Attention, NSCLC calls for repeal of the penalty due to the hardship it causes for Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (Pub. L. No. 106-169) increased federal expenditures for foster care. In order to make the legislation revenue neutral, Congress had to seek offsetting cuts elsewhere. One of those cuts was a provision authorizing a transfer penalty in the SSI program. It establishes a period of ineligibility when an individual transfers a resource for less than fair market value while the individual is receiving SSI or during a 36 month look-back period prior to applying for SSI. This policy is based on the unrealistic assumption that people will give away valuable property just for the opportunity to live on a subsistence income amounting, in most cases, to $674 a month. The brief was widely circulated through an Income Alert, Washington Report and with the Social Security Works coalition.