Eighty years ago this month, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. The implications for California and all other U.S. retirees, and eventually disabled individuals too, have been far reaching.
Over the course of those decades a lot of changes have taken place and with every passing year, new ones are made as Social Security Administration officials attempt to take the various related laws passed by Congress and develop methods for implementing them.
The result is that today, we have what some might describe as a giant hairball of bureaucratic complexity that requires particular dedication and skill to navigate. And making matters worse is the fact that inside the administration, experts tend to display a huge diversity of opinion about how things are supposed to work.
That reality gets into stark relief at times. It happened again not too long ago when Boston University economist Larry Kotlikoff accused the SSA of unilaterally and surreptitiously making a change to how they would handle one particular issue. He says the result is an outright act of discrimination against disabled individuals.
Kotlikoff says the change forces disabled workers to take retirement at the full retirement age under law instead of opting to withdraw from the system until a later date in order to maximize eventual retirement benefits. To be fair, they can opt to withdraw, but if they do, they may have to pay back any all money they received in disability benefits. So is there really a choice?
The economist says in pressing for clarification about the rule change from expert sources he got differing opinions that he says reflected individual's interpretations of the laws rather than what the laws actually say.
Considering how convoluted it can get just talking about Social Security Administration actions around a single issue, it should be no surprise that the general process of seeking and obtaining disability insurance benefits can be emotionally taxing. Relief comes by attending to the unique details of each individual case. Helping eligible people get that relief is our firm's reason for being.