newspaper-readersRecent News Affecting Our Readers

Here are several recent news stories that may be of concern to people with disabilities.

Increases for Heating Help

Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut have increased their home heating assistance budgets. According to a story in the Washington Post, New York increased its budget by $6 million, Connecticut by $1.5 million and Pennsylvania by $8 million. This means that more funds should be available to help low income people having trouble heating their houses. In addition, by raising the heating budgets, each state is also able to garner additional funding for their food stamp assistance programs, essentially nullifying the cuts Congress put in place earlier in the year. This is good news for people struggling to pay their bills and eat. Some other states are also looking at adopting similar heating budget increases.

Obama Proposes "Double Dipping" Nix

In his new budget, President Obama has proposed that people no longer be allowed to collect both unemployment and Social Security benefits. The Los Angeles Times reports that the President is calling this a budget saving reform, stating it is projected to save $3 billion dollars over a decade. Democrats originally proposed this idea during Congress in January.

Disability Appeals Rules Proposed to be Tightened

The Social Security Administration believes that they do not receive all of the medically pertinent information for some people who appeal their disability claims. They feel that often-times information that may indicate an applicant is capable of working or does not put the applicant's case in a favorable light is not provided to them by the applicant or their representative. In response they have decided to make a rule change. The new proposed rule reads that an applicant is responsible to provide “all evidence known to you that relates to whether or not you are blind or disabled. This would include evidence that may be either favorable or unfavorable to your claim.” People who are objecting to this rule believe that this simple-sounding rule change will ultimately keep thousands of people from receiving benefits they deserve and could even open the door to prosecution of applicants if something is accidentally overlooked. The SSA is currently gathering people's ideas about the change, but they could still implement it within the coming months. Here is more information from the Wall Street Journal.

Obama Has Not Provided a Way for SSDI to Remain Solvent

In his recent 2014 budget, President Obama did not address the possibility of Social Security Disability Benefits budget going in the red. Some experts predict it may happen in about two years. According to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew the Administration is basically planning to do what they always seem to do for budget deficits- take from the Social Security Fund.  Congressman Tom Reed questioned Jack Lew about the situation last week during a hearing on the budget. You can read Congressman Reed's thoughts on his blog.

Social Security Reform

Representative Sam Graves from Missouri has expressed concern over both the fraud cases that have surfaced over the past few months as well as the close bankruptcy of the fund. To try to extend the fund he has introduces legislation to Congress that would expand the number of investigative offices across the country from 25 to 54 enabling the department to more quickly investigate possible fraud in the system. Congressman Graves referenced a case in New York were 102 people are accused of receiving $400 million in Social Security disability benefits they did not deserve. He also stated that for every dollar spent on fraud investigation returns $17 to the fund. You can read more more about Grave's proposed legislation on his website.



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Recognized as one of the nation’s premier law firms, The Cochran Firm handles cases on behalf of clients seeking a Personal Injury Lawyer, Criminal Defense, Medical Malpractice, Bankruptcy Attorney in Atlanta or Social Security Disability Lawyer.The Firm can be reached at 1-800-THE-FIRM (1-800-843-3476) or fill out the form on this page. “Working for You.” Article by Benjamin A. Irwin, Esq.


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