Editor's Note: Below are the latest news and helpful information from the Social Security Administration press office:
Social Security Announces Representative Payee Pro Bono Pilot Maryland Attorneys Offered Opportunity to Assist Residents in Need
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced the agency’s implementation of a pro bono pilot in Maryland for attorneys interested in being a representative payee for a Social Security beneficiary. Representative payees provide crucial help to the most vulnerable individuals in our community with their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments.
“The Maryland Representative Payee Pro Bono Pilot offers attorneys a chance to fulfill the Court of Appeals’ aspirational goal of providing pro bono services – by assisting the young, elderly, and disabled with their Social Security benefits,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said. “Attorneys are held to high ethical standards and will serve this at-risk population with the compassion and integrity they deserve.”
Any licensed Maryland attorney in good standing can volunteer for this pilot project by registering at www.socialsecurity. gov/payee/probonopilot.htm. Social Security will use the information provided to connect interested attorneys with beneficiaries in need of the services. The Maryland pilot will expand the network of available candidates to help assist those in need. “ThePro Bono Resource Center of Maryland supports the new pilot project and looks forward to working with the Social Security Administration in promoting this important opportunity to assist vulnerable individuals to the Maryland legal community,” stated Sharon E. Goldsmith, Executive Director of PBRC. PBRC serves as the designated pro bono arm of the Maryland State Bar Association.
Representative payees provide a key service to Social Security recipients who are unable to manage their benefits. Nearly 21 percent of people who need help managing their payments do not have family members or trusted friends who can help them. Payees receive monthly payments on behalf of the beneficiary and use the funds to meet the individual’s basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. They also keep records and ensure that Social Security funds are used to care for the recipient. Once the pilot is successful in Maryland, the agency will consider expanding to states nationwide.
Acting Commissioner Colvin reinforced that “representative payees play a vital role in serving our beneficiaries and creating a stable living environment for the most vulnerable people in our society. I encourage eligible Maryland attorneys to participate in this pilot.”
Open Enrollment for Affordable Healthcare
Since enrollment for health care plans under the Affordable Care Act became available in October 2013, over 8 million people have signed up. Open enrollment for healthcare plans begins November 15, 2014 and runs through February 15, 2015. If you are planning to apply, change your coverage, or help a family member, visit www.healthcare.gov/ for more information.
National Anti-Fraud Committee Fights Fraud On September 18, Social Security’s National Anti-Fraud Committee hosted its inaugural National Anti-Fraud Conference. The committee, regional executives, and other attendees addressed the importance of fraud prevention and detection, as well as the many ongoing and new initiatives of Social Security and its Office of the Inspector General to prevent, detect, and investigate fraud. As Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin stated in congressional testimony, “The agency’s message to those who would defraud Social Security is clear: we will find you; we will prosecute you; we will seek the maximum punishment allowable under the law; and we will fight to restore the money you’ve stolen to the American people.”
We also depend on you and your constituents to help stop fraud. Please report fraud online at http://oig.ssa.gov/report or call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Mailed Social Security Statements Resume In September 2014, Social Security began mailing Social SecurityStatements to workers ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 and 60 who are not receiving Social Security benefits and do not have a mySocial Security account. After age 60, people will receive aStatement every year. Rather than waiting to receive a mailedStatement once every five years, we encourage the public to open a my Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount so they can access their Statement online anytime. The Social Security Statement is a valuable financial planning tool that provides workers their tax contributions, future benefit estimates, and yearly earnings information. This is important since earnings are the basis for determining retirement benefits. Learn more about mailed Statements and the benefits of opening a my Social Security account by reading the press release at www.socialsecurity.gov/news/press/releases.html#!/post/9-2014-1.
Did You Know That…
63.2 millionpeople received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2013. 5.5 millionpeople were newly awarded Social Security benefits in 2013. 65%of aged beneficiaries received at least half of their income from Social Security in 2012. 55%of adult Social Security beneficiaries in 2013 were women. 53.5was the average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries in 2013. 86%of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients received payments because of disability or blindness in 2013.
SSI Number of Recipients, 1974–2013 The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides income support to needy persons aged 65 or older, blind or disabled adults, and blind or disabled children. Eligibility requirements and federal payment standards are nationally uniform. SSI replaced the former federal/state adult assistance programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Payments under SSI began in January 1974, with 3.2 million persons receiving federally administered payments. By December 1974, this number had risen to nearly 4 million and remained at about that level until the mid-1980s, then rose steadily, reaching nearly 6 million in 1993 and 7 million by the end of 2004. As of December 2013, the number of recipients was about 8.4 million. Of this total, almost 4.9 million were between the ages of 18 and 64, 2.1 million were aged 65 or older, and 1.3 million were under age 18.