The third longest partial government shutdown ended shortly after midnight on October 17th, 2013 when both chambers of the house and the president passed a short term continuing resolution to fund the government until a longer term budget could be work out between the contentious chambers of Congress. Now, less than two months after that short term deal was reached, the potential for another partial shutdown is once again upon the federal government. The resolution passed in October appropriated only enough funding to run the government at the already reduced sequestration levels until January 15th, 2014. Failure to once again appropriate additional funding or a long term budget by that date will once again result in a partial government shutdown, impacting many federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (SSA). (more…)
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that Social Security benefit payments will increase by 1.5% beginning in January of 2014. The annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is among the lowest annual increases in benefits since the method for calculating the increase was implemented in 1975. The small increase is the result of only a small annual change in the price of common consumer items. Last year’s increase was 1.7%. (more…)
Are you a Medicare beneficiary? If so, your annual opportunity to learn about next year’s Medicare health plan options is coming up quick! The Annual Enrollment Period is just around the corner, beginning on October 15th and continuing through December 7th. Even if you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can use this Annual Enrollment Period to shop around for a plan that may be more appropriate for your needs.
We know that with the variety and sheer volume of plans available to you depending on where you live, the process of weeding through them all can be overwhelming and confusing. That’s why we now offer a service where a licensed and certified Medicare Specialist can provide you with a thorough analysis of the plans available to you, taking into account your preferred doctors and prescription drugs. In fact, if we can find a plan that you like, we may be able to enroll you into that plan right over the phone.
For more information about your Medicare options and the Annual Enrollment Period, contact one of our agents at (877) 406-5160. Additionally, you can find more information by visiting www.medicare.gov or by calling Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE.
Short article from The Washington Times heading into the Fourth of July holiday weekend. A few highlights from the story:
Of the 316.2 million Americans, approximately 1 in 5 has some kind of disability, and 1 in 10 has a severe disability.
The official Social Security Administration website indicates that there are “8.8 million disabled workers who are social security recipients.”
“Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.”
Approximately 10,000 persons turn 65 each day, and this is estimated to continue for the next 20 years.
Enacted in 1996, DOMA defines “marriage,” for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, including Social Security, as a union between a man and a woman only. In overturning the Act, the Supreme Court explained that the states have traditionally had the responsibility of regulating and defining marriage, and that some states have chosen to allow same-sex couples to marry in order to provide them with the protection and dignity associated with marriage. By denying recognition to same-sex couples who are legally married, DOMA discriminates against them to express disapproval of state-sanctioned same-sex marriage.
Today’s Supreme Court decision means that same-sex couples who are legally married under state law must now be treated the same under federal law, including the Social Security Act, as married opposite-sex couples.
For purposes of Social Security benefits, this will mean that same-sex spouses who are married under the laws of their states of residency will be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits.