House Committee Considers Bill to Boost Social Security

Posted August 2, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Max Richtman, is urging the House Ways and Means Committee to boost Social Security — and keep the system financially sound for the rest of the century — as it takes up the Social Security 2100 Act.  The bill, introduced by Congressman John Larson (D-CT), receives its first full committee hearing today after years of inaction by the former House majority. In his testimony to the committee, Richtman emphasizes that the National Committee enthusiastically endorses the bill on behalf of its millions of members and supporters.

The bill assures that Social Security remains fully funded for more than 75 years, while expanding the program in significant ways:

  • An across-the-board increase for all beneficiaries of about 2% of the average benefit
  • Adoption of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which more accurately reflects the true impact of inflation on retirees than the current formula
  • Tax relief for many Social Security beneficiaries
  • An increase in the special minimum benefit so that it equals up to 125% of the federal poverty level

Congressman Larson says the bill will be marked-up in September, and could come to the House floor for a vote this Fall.  The legislation was first introduced in 2014, but did not even receive a hearing under GOP control.  The new House majority has given the Social Security 2100 Act new life.  The bill has more than 210 cosponsors, nearly a majority of House members.

The enhanced benefits and fiscal guarantees in the Social Security 2100 Act would be paid for in two ways:  1) By adjusting the FICA payroll income cap so that high-earners would contribute to the system on income above $400,000; 2) By slowly raising the FICA payroll tax paid by employees 1.2% over the next 24 years – or about 50 cents extra per week for the average wage earner.

Contact our office today if you or anyone you know would like to learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.

Read Max Richtman’s full testimony here:

Read the bill summary here:

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Social Security Benefits for Immigrants

Posted July 26, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Legal immigrants in the United States are eligible for Social Security Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance just as any native-born citizen of the United States would be. Immigrants can collect Social Security benefits if they meet the requirements for work credits or qualify with earnings they made abroad. In order to be eligible to collect Social Security, you must first apply for a Social Security number. Once you have a Social Security number, you can begin the process of earning the required amount of work credits to be eligible for benefits.

If you are a legal immigrant who has not earned enough work credits in the United States, you can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits with the credits you have earned in your native country, if your native country is one of the 26 countries with which the United States has made Social Security agreements. These agreements are called totalization agreements.

If you are a legal immigrant who meets the criteria to collect disability established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can collect disability income if you are a worker and you become disabled. In order to collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI), however, you must be a citizen of the United States who has limited financial resources and who is disabled, age 65 or older, or who has children who are disabled. If you are not a citizen of the United States and want to collect SSI, you must be considered a qualified alien.

Contact our office today if you or anyone you know would like to learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.

See more here:

Learn how to become a citizen:

By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

ALJ Union Accuses Social Security of Bad Faith Bargaining

Posted July 19, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The president of a union representing the administrative law judges (ALJs) who adjudicate disability claims has accused the Social Security Administration of bargaining in bad faith. The accusation follows news that federal mediators declared the agency and union to be at impasse in negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ) President Melissa McIntosh said her union has filed an internal grievance with the agency over its negotiating practices as they discuss a new contract. She said she believes management is focused on standardizing contracts with disparate bargaining units, rather than on improving efficiency for taxpayers.

“I think what’s most obvious would be their aggressive posture in mandating contracts that are the same for all bargaining units at SSA,” McIntosh said. “You have a bargaining unit that’s made exclusively of judges, and then there’s [the American Federation of Government Employees], which is a bargaining unit of 45,000 employees with diverse positions, and then there’s a [National Treasury Employees Union] bargaining unit. It’s not bargaining in good faith to say, all three times, that we want the contracts to look the same.”

AALJ and Social Security have been negotiating provisions of a new collective bargaining agreement since March, culminating in two weeks of mediation by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service last month. At the end of those two weeks, FMCS Commissioner Randall Mayhew declared the parties to be at an impasse.

The agency’s “last best offer” to the union, which was reviewed by Government Executive, includes several proposals that have become standard in the Trump administration, including shifting telework policies to be entirely at the discretion of the agency and a drastic reduction in the amount of official time the union can use. In this case, SSA proposed a 90% cut to official time, from an annual bank of 22,000 hours in the current contract to only 2,000 hours.

“We simply cannot function as a union and meet our statutory requirements [to represent employees] on only 2,000 hours,” McIntosh said. “And they’ve done the same thing to try to aggressively eliminate official time for AFGE and NTEU.”

Contact our office today if you or anyone you know would like to learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits.


By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®