August 5, 2010

Your Social Security – Rock Island, IL Office


By Christina Vital
Rock Island Social Security office

Social Security Proposes Legislation to End Furloughs of Federally Paid State Disability Workers

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced that the agency is submitting legislation to Congress that would prohibit states, without the Commissioner’s prior authorization, from reducing the number of state personnel who make disability determinations for Social Security or the hours they work below the amount the agency authorizes.

“It is long past time that states end these unconscionable furloughs and hiring freezes that needlessly harm citizens with disabilities,” Commissioner Astrue said. “States realize no fiscal savings whatsoever from these actions and this legislation would prevent needless delays in the disability determination process. I am grateful for the President’s support and urge Congress to move quickly to help us make this provision the law of the land.”

More than a dozen states have implemented furloughs and hiring freezes that affect the federally paid state workers who make disability determinations for Social Security. The state agencies that employ these workers in their disability determination service (DDS) components receive 100 percent of their funding from the Federal government. Accordingly, states do not save any money by imposing furloughs and hiring freezes on federally funded employees. Rather, they slow benefits to some of the most vulnerable citizens – for example, furloughs in California in fiscal year 2010 delayed payment of over $11 million in benefits to more than 40,000 citizens with disabilities. State-imposed furloughs and hiring freezes also reduce state income tax revenue and increase unemployment in the state.

“The members of Local 1000 have always believed that furloughing federally funded positions doesn’t make economic sense and that has been proven in California during these past 18 months that Governor Schwarzenegger has imposed furloughs on state employees,” Yvonne Walker, President of Service Employees International Union Local 1000 said. “I applaud Social Security for initiating legislation that would prevent further bad economic policy from going forward. This provision will not only help DDS workers, but the claimants who rely on the services our members provide.”

“We commend the Commissioner for his forceful and dedicated leadership in taking this bold action,” said Susan X. Smith, President of the National Association of Disability Examiners (NADE). “Our
members are witness to the impact the current economic recession has had for disabled citizens and we are working hard to meet the dramatic increase in claims for benefits. These furloughs further compound the problems faced by disabled citizens by creating unnecessary delays in the processing of their claims. NADE urges quick action with regards to this legislative proposal.”



When will I get my automatic Social Security Statement?

If you are at least 25 years old and not yet receiving benefits, you should receive your annual Social Security Statement about three months before your birthday. If your automatic Statement has not
arrived and you are within one month before the month of your birth or if you need a Statement sooner, you can request one at any time by going to You can learn more about the Social Security Statement and how to use it at

If Social Security is for the retired and disabled, why would my new baby need a Social Security number?

Social Security is not just for the retired and disabled. Survivors of deceased workers and the families of retired or disabled workers also qualify for benefits. In fact, about four million children currently receive benefits. Nine out of 10 children would be eligible to receive benefits if a parent retires, becomes disabled, or dies. But children need a Social Security number before they can receive benefits. Children also need a number for reasons not connected with Social Security benefits. For example, children need a Social Security number to be claimed as a dependent on a tax return, open a bank account, or buy U.S. Savings Bonds. Also, your child needs a number to be eligible for some social services and benefits such as Temporary Assistance to Families, food stamps, and Medicaid. Learn more about your Social Security card and number at


My neighbor, who is retired, told me that the income he receives from his part-time job at the local nursery gives him an increase in his Social Security benefits. If I go back to work will my benefits increase?

If you return to work after you start receiving benefits, you may be able to receive a higher benefit based on those earnings. This is because Social Security automatically re-computes the benefit after crediting the additional earnings to the individual’s earnings record. If those earnings are higher than one of the years of earnings we used to compute your current benefit, your benefit may be increased. Learn more about how we figure your retirement benefit by reading the publication Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured, available at If you are not already receiving benefits, you also may want to test out how changes in wages and retirement ages will affect your future benefit by using the Retirement Estimator at


What is the difference between Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability?

The Social Security Administration runs two major programs that provide benefits based on disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI. SSDI is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be “insured” for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, survivors, or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

SSI is a needs-based program financed through general revenues. SSI disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, and are otherwise eligible. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the State or decreased by countable income and resources.

To learn more about SSDI and SSI disability benefits, visit and visit the links along the top of the page for Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Can I get both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and Social Security benefits at the same time?

Many people eligible for SSI may also be entitled to Social Security benefits. In fact, the application for SSI also is an application for Social Security benefits. Eligibility for SSI depends on your income and resources, so if you receive a large Social Security check, you won’t be eligible for SSI. However, if your Social Security payment is low and your overall income and resources are low, you might be eligible to receive an SSI payment to supplement your Social Security benefits. To learn more about SSI, read the publication You May Be Able To Receive SSI at


Will my eligibility for the Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs be reviewed and, if so, how often?

If you get the Extra Help, Social Security may contact you to review your status. This review will determine whether you remain eligible for Extra Help and whether you are receiving all the benefits you deserve. We do reviews annually, usually at the end of August. We will send you a form to complete: “Social Security Administration Review of Your Eligibility for Extra Help.” You will have 30 days to complete and return this form. Any necessary adjustments to the Extra Help will be effective in January of the following year. For example, if we send you a review form in August 2010 and you return the review form within 30 days, any necessary adjustment to your Extra Help will be effective in January 2011. To learn more about Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug plan costs, visit