Supplemental Security Income benefits were implemented to help those who are disabled, elderly or blind and do not have sufficient income and resources. Some Pennsylvania residents may worry that their home will automatically disqualify them for aid, but the Social Security Administration says that is not the case.
Pittsburgh residents who rely on Social Security or Supplemental Security Income should notice an increase in their monthly checks to the tune of 3.6 percent. This cost of living adjustment is the first for Social Security benefits since 2009. In March 2011, it was estimated that the COLA would be an increase of 1.2 percent. Due to inflation, however, that percentage has tripled.
When unemployment insurance runs out, an increasing number of Americans are turning to Social Security disability benefits for needed income. According to new studies, the number of people in the United States receiving Social Security Disability benefits has increased 47 percent since 2002, bringing the current number up to 10.6 million.
With such a long list of applicants waiting for Social Security disability benefits in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, the Social Security Administration cannot or does not always grant benefits in time to aid those most in need. Applicants sometimes die during the process and it happens often enough that there is a code for appeals that have been dismissed because the applicant is deceased. There have been more than 15,000 cases since 2005 that have been labeled with this code.
Concerns have been raised that the Social Security Disability system is not working as it should. To address those concerns, the Social Security Administration has commissioned a review of the federal disability system by an independent entity. The Administrative Conference of the United States will perform the review and make recommendations next year.
Americans with disabilities in the Pittsburgh area and throughout the United States may have an easier time finding jobs, thanks to a new plan from the Labor Department. The plan would set a goal for companies with federal contracts to hire disabled workers, who are greatly under-represented in the workforce. The goal would be 7 percent; the rule would only apply to contractors with at least 50 employees and a minimum $50,000 government contract. About 170,000 contractors would be affected.