This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.
Social Security Online
Social Security Update
April 2012

In This Issue:

Trustees Release Annual Report

The Social Security Board of Trustees has released its annual report on the financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds.

The combined assets of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds will be exhausted in 2033, three years sooner than projected last year. The DI Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2016, two years earlier than last year’s estimate. The Trustees also project that OASDI program costs will exceed non-interest income again this year and will remain higher throughout the rest of the 75-year period.

“This year’s Trustees Report contains troubling, but not unexpected, projections about Social Security’s finances,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. “It once again emphasizes that Congress needs to act to ensure the long-term solvency of this important program, and needs to act within four years to avoid automatic cuts to people receiving disability benefits.” Learn more about this year’s Trustees Report by reading the press release at www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/trustee12-pr.html.

Faster Disability Decisions for Thousands of People

This month, Social Security announced 52 additional Compassionate Allowances conditions that qualify for expedited medical decisions. The new conditions include many neurological disorders, cancers, and rare diseases. Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to quickly identify the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that we can obtain right away.

The new 52 conditions bring the total list of severe disabling conditions that qualify as Compassionate Allowances to 165. That list continues to grow as Social Security, the National Institutes of Health, and a number of patient organizations help identify new conditions that clearly warrant quick approvals.

“Social Security will continue to work with the medical community and patient organizations to add more conditions,” Commissioner Astrue said. “With our Compassionate Allowances program, we quickly approved disability benefits for nearly 61,000 people with severe disabilities in the past fiscal year, and nearly 173,000 applications since the program began.”

Learn more about Compassionate Allowances at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

Open Government at Social Security –
A Refreshed Plan

Recently, we published our Open Government Plan 2.0, which highlights successes from our 2010 plan and lays out new commitments for increasing transparency, expanding opportunities for public participation, and enhancing efforts to collaborate with other organizations to improve service to the public. We sought public feedback in developing this plan, and now invite further review and ideas for improving it. To review the plan and share your thoughts, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/open.

Free Online Webinars Offer Something for Everyone

Social Security offers a number of free webinars to help advocates, representatives, and individuals better understand Social Security’s programs and services.

The most recent webinar is Ticket To Work: Support Services For People Who Have a Disability And Are Ready to Work. This webinar teaches people about Ticket to Work, other work incentives, and where to find more information on related subjects.

Other webinar topics include Filing a Disability Appeal Online, Business Services Online, Representative Payees: Roles and Responsibilities of Payees Who Serve Multiple Beneficiaries, Social Security for Wounded Warriors, and, among others, Social Security 101: What’s in it for me?

You can always find the most recent or upcoming webinar at www.socialsecurity.gov/webinars. Select the “Past” tab to see a list of available webinars you can watch at your convenience. They’re all free, and class is in session whenever you have a spare moment.

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