Social Security – Trustees Release 2018 Annual Report; House Holds Hearing

Last week, the Social Security Board of Trustees released “The 2018 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds.” The 2018 report finds that at the end of 2017, Social Security’s reserves were $2.89 trillion. The Trustees continue to project that Social Security’s combined Trust Funds can pay all scheduled benefits through 2034, at which point the Trust Funds would be able to pay approximately 79 percent of scheduled benefits. The Trustees also find that the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund can pay full scheduled benefits through 2032, after which the fund will be able to pay about 96 percent of scheduled benefits. This is 4 years later than projected in the 2017 Trustees Report, due to ongoing declines in applications, awards, and the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits. Additional key points about the Trustees Report are available from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force.

The Social Security Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on the 2018 Trustees Report. The witness was Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration. Visit the Committee web site to view testimony and archived video.

Social Security – House Committee to Hold Hearing on Securing Americans’ Identities: The Future of the Social Security Number

On May 17, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on Securing Americans’ Identities: The Future of the Social Security Number. As stated in the Committee’s announcement, the hearing will examine “[t]he dangers of the use of the Social Security number (SSN) as both an identifier and authenticator and examine policy considerations and possible solutions to mitigate the consequences of SSN loss or theft.” Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video on the day of the hearing.

Social Security – President Nominates Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of SSA

On April 12, President Trump nominated Andrew M. Saul as Commissioner and David Fabian Black as Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Both are being appointed for the remainder of six-year terms expiring January 19, 2019. Andrew Saul is also being nominated for an additional six-year term expiring January 19, 2025. He is currently a partner with Saul Partners, L.P. and a Commissioner for Westchester County, NY. David Black is currently the White House Senior Advisor at SSA. Previously, he served as SSA’s General Counsel and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. SSA administers Social Security programs such as Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These nominations must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

Social Security – Senate Approves Bill to Strengthen Representative Payee Program

Last week, the Senate approved by unanimous consent the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (H.R. 4547). Introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Rep. John Larson (D-CT), the bill makes numerous changes to Social Security’s representative payee program designed to enhance oversight and operations of the program. The House approved the bill in February; following last week’s Senate approval, the bill will next be transmitted to the President for his signature. Visit the Committee on Ways and Means web site to view summaries and related materials about the bill. The Arc strongly supports this bipartisan legislation to strengthen Social Security’s representative payee program and applauds the House and Senate votes.

Social Security – House Committee to Hold Hearing on SSA Leadership

On March 7 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on “Lacking a Leader: Challenges Facing the SSA after over 5 Years of Acting Commissioners.” As stated in the Committee’s announcement “The hearing will focus on the need for a Senate-confirmed Commissioner to lead the Social Security Administration (SSA), the challenges and limitations faced by the SSA when it is led by an Acting Commissioner, and the legal framework that governs a vacancy at the SSA.” Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.

Social Security – House Advances Bill to Strengthen Representative Payee Program

Last week, the House voted 396-0 to pass the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017 (H.R. 4547). Introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Rep. John Larson (D-CT), the bill makes numerous changes to Social Security’s representative payee program designed to enhance oversight and operations of the program. Visit the Committee on Ways and Means web site to view summaries and related materials about the bill. The Arc strongly supports this bipartisan legislation to strengthen Social Security’s representative payee program.

Social Security – Bill to Protect Social Security Benefits from Garnishments Introduced in House

Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), and John Larson (D-CT) have introduced the “Protection of Social Security Benefits Restoration Act” (H.R. 4500). The bill would repeal a 1996 change in law that allowed earned benefits to be garnished by the federal government to collect federal debts, such as student loans and home loans owed to the Veterans Administration. The bill would prevent garnishment of Social Security retirement, survivors’, and disability benefits – as well as other earned benefits – to collect federal debts. Earlier this year, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a Senate version of this bill (S. 959). View a Huffington Post column by Rep. Grijalva for more information about the bill. The Arc strongly supports this much-needed legislation to maintain basic living standards for Social Security beneficiaries struggling to pay student loans and other federal debts.

Social Security – Bill to Strengthen Representative Payee Program Introduced in House

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Rep. John Larson (D-CT) have introduced the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017 (H.R. 4547). The bill proposes numerous changes to Social Security’s representative payee program designed to enhance oversight and operations of the program. Visit the Committee on Ways and Means web site to view a summary of the bill, a section-by-section analysis, the full text of the bill, and related materials. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

Social Security – Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Hosts Webinar on Harmful Congressional Proposal to Stop SSI benefits for People with Outstanding Warrants

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force and Justice in Aging held a webinar on Monday, November 20, 2017. The webinar reviewed proposed Congressional legislation to revive a disastrous old policy to prohibit the payment of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to people who are the subject of an arrest warrant for an alleged felony or an alleged violation of probation or parole. It featured remarks by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and presentations by Dara Baldwin, National Disability Rights Network; Tracey Gronniger, Justice in Aging; and T.J. Sutcliffe, The Arc. They discussed the details of the proposal, who it would harm, and why it is bad policy. Click here to view the archived webinar.

Social Security – Free Webinar: Why a Congressional Proposal to Stop SSI Benefits for People with Outstanding Warrants is so Harmful

Join the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force and Justice in Aging for a free webinar on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will review proposed Congressional legislation to revive a disastrous old policy to prohibit the payment of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to people who are the subject of an arrest warrant for an alleged felony or an alleged violation of probation or parole. Learn about the proposal, who it would harm, and why it is bad policy. The webinar will feature introductory remarks by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and presentations by Dara Baldwin, National Disability Rights Network; Tracey Gronniger, Justice in Aging; and T.J. Sutcliffe, The Arc. Real-time captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided. This webinar is free, but registration is required. Click here to register.