Posts in:March, 2018

Social Security Receives Funding to Help with Backlog

Posted March 30, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

SSA increased funding

Social Security’s current state

Buried in the recent spending bill that kept the U.S. government operating is $100 million for the Social Security Administration (SSA) that is meant, in part, to fix a multi-year backlog of people waiting to hear if they qualify for disability benefits. The Social Security Disability Insurance program is supposed to provide a safety net for people unable to work due to injury or illness.

According to the latest SSA statistics, nearly 1 million people remain stuck in a hearing-decision backlog that averages 599 days (20 months). In some areas, wait times are up to 772 days.

In September 2017 testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, Bea Disman, the acting chief of staff at the SSA, said the agency was implementing several measures to address the massive backlog. But by the end of 2017, almost no progress had been made on reducing the wait times for applicants.

Furthermore, in 2017 alone, more than 10,000 people died waiting to hear if they would be awarded insurance benefits that they had worked for years to earn – a 15 percent increase over the previous year.

Why the long wait for hearings?

There are several factors that have taken the backlog to a crisis level. First, the SSA has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since 2013, which has limited its ability to tackle this and other challenges.

In addition, the agency has failed to meet its own hiring goal for administrative law judges and support staff who conduct the review hearings, even though it told Congress extra hiring would be a primary tool for reducing the backlog. In fact, only 600 ALJs have been hired over the past three years and only 132 in the fiscal year 2017.

Additionally, the SSA requires that applicants provide duplicative medical records of various sorts and then states that it’s overwhelmed by the volume of records. Due to SSA concerns about subjectivity and physician bias, the agency also no longer assigns greater weight to the opinions of doctors who treat applicants when assessing an individual’s condition and his or her ability to work.

Instead it can choose to rely more on the opinion of its own, more cursory, processes to examine the patients or review medical evidence.

What this means for the SSA

The new funding is certainly welcome. But recent data from the SSA indicates that the agency is anticipating a dramatic rise in disability applications in 2018 and 2019. So, this story is far from over. Social Security disability benefits remain a complicated mess with no one at the helm to provide strategic leadership to the staff or to the judges who must assess the claims of former workers and their families.

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Premier Disability Service’s Pharmacy Savings Program

Posted March 23, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Premier Disability Services, LLC is committed to assisting our clients, employees, and the community in any way that we can. We are now working with RxCut, LLC to provide savings – up to 87% – on prescription medications. The FREE RxCut® prescription savings card provides you access to the absolute lowest price on your prescriptions; the lesser of the RxCut® discounted price, your insurance copayment, or the pharmacy cash price. Here are some of the other program highlights:

  • No enrollment fees
  • Everyone qualifies
  • All cards are active
  • Unlimited uses
  • Never expires
  • Works for pet medications
  • No personal information needed
  • Works for all FDA approved prescription medications
  • Share your card or print one for your family, friends, co-workers and your community

RxCut® cardholders have saved over $300,000,000! The cards are accepted at all major chains as well as most independent pharmacies. See more and get your card here:

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Social Security Testifies Before Congress

Posted March 16, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

SSA Testifies

Two Social Security representatives recently testified before Congress. On January 24, Jim Borland, acting deputy commissioner for communications, testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging on the subject “Navigating Critical Decisions to Age Well.” “Few government agencies touch the lives of as many people as we do,” Borland said. “Social Security pays monthly OASDI benefits to approximately 62 million individuals. During fiscal year (FY) 2017, we paid about $934 billion to Social Security beneficiaries.”

Borland also described Social Security’s important role in helping people to understand Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits so that they can make their own informed decisions. He said, “Before individuals apply for and receive Social Security benefits, SSA has an important role to provide objective and clear information that individuals may use to plan for retirement and make informed decisions appropriate for their circumstances. We have a variety of ways to inform individuals about their claiming options before they decide to file for Social Security benefits or enroll in Medicare. These resources are critical because they allow individuals to consider the best age for them to start benefits based on their health, finances, and other personal circumstances. We provide this information using a variety of methods, including the Social Security Statement, our website and publications, outreach, and more.”

On February 7, Gina Clemons, associate commissioner for disability policy, testified before the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security. Her testimony covered the many ways Social Security serves America’s Veterans, including wounded warriors and the disabled.

Clemons stated, “Through the programs and services we provide, it is our duty to show our appreciation and support for their sacrifices. We are proud of our ongoing partnerships and processes to help wounded warriors and other service members and Veterans. By working together, we continue to provide the high-quality service that our military men and women deserve.”

If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!

By: Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

You can read both testimonies at