Posts tagged ‘disability insurance’

A Cost of War: Soaring Disability Benefits for Veterans

(Source: CNN)

Charles Williams had planned to become a ROTC teacher after he left the military, but became a disabled veteran after an RPG attack in Afghanistan.

Charles Williams had planned to become a ROTC teacher after he left the military, but was wounded by an RPG attack in Afghanistan.

After more than a decade of continuous warfare, the cost of disability compensation for wounded veterans is surging to mammoth proportions.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That’s up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. (more…)

Social Security Tries to Reduce Backlog of Disability Cases

(Source: Sun Sentinel)

The Social Security Administration took a whack at a big backlog of applications for disability benefits in South Florida and the rest of the nation by declaring that more sick people will qualify automatically.

Almost 10,000 people in Broward and Palm Beach counties are waiting for hearings to decide whether they are disabled — third-highest in the nation, with an average wait of 368 days, according to Syracuse University. Over the years, some people have become destitute or died while waiting for hearings.

The SSA said its new policy adds 52 serious illnesses to a list of 113 conditions that make a person automatically eligible for disability, so he doesn’t get denied and have to wait in the backlog for a hearing date.

“This will be a big help for people who are very sick,” said former Social Security Judge Lyle Lieberman, now a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who handles disability cases. (more…)

Pressure to Reduce VA Disability Claims May Cause More Delays, Advocates Warn

(Source: The Washington Post)

With the Veterans Administration facing a growing backlog of more than 900,000 disability claims, advocates for veterans warned Wednesday that pressure by the VA to reduce the numbers will increase the number of mistakes it makes.

The number of pending claims before the VA stood at 903,000 this week, up 50,000 from January and an increase of about one-half million from three years ago, numbers driven by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with complex injuries, and a policy change making it easier for Vietnam veterans to file Agent Orange-related claims.

“The tidal wave of claims coming in on VA is putting unprecedented demand on VA,” Paul Sullivan, representing the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, told the House Veterans Affairs Committee at a hearing on the disability claims process. (more…)

Disability Rights Protesters Bring Trafalgar Square Traffic to a Standstill

(Source: The Guardian)

Disability activists blocked one of central London’s busiest road junctions on Wednesday with a line of wheelchair users chaining themselves together in the latest in a series of direct action protests against welfare cuts.

The protesters used metal chains and security locks to block two junctions around Trafalgar Square bringing traffic to a standstill for more than two hours.

The demonstration was organised by Disabled People Against the Cuts (Dpac) which has taken the lead in several direct action anti-cuts protests over the past two months.

“We are fed up with being vilified as scroungers by successive governments,” said Dpac co-founder Debbie Jolly, from Leicester. “We are sick of hearing about disabled people who have died from neglect and lack of services or who have committed suicide because services and benefits were withdrawn from them. We want to make sure politicians know we will not accept these attacks on our lives any longer.” (more…)

Assurant Employee Benefits Introduces Disability Plan Evaluation Tool

(Source: The Sacramento Bee)

KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 3, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — With a disabling injury occurring once every second in the U.S., disability insurance is an increasingly important tool to help people maintain their fiscal security. However, individual payments can vary depending on their employer’s disability plan. To help make disability calculations easier to understand, Assurant Employee Benefits developed the industry’s first online tools that compare how the indexing methods and offsets of various plans affect disability benefits.

“Contrary to popular belief, all disability plans are not created equal,” said Scott Horstman, disability product manager with Assurant Employee Benefits. “In fact, they can vary depending on indexing, or how an individual qualifies for benefits, and offsets like Social Security and return to work earnings, which determine the amount of benefit they are eligible to receive. This tool will help brokers and employers evaluate the different options and how they impact the payout a disabled employee will receive from their disability plan, which can impact their level of income protection for the long term.”

The new offset and indexing tool includes three user-friendly modules, including return to work offsets, social security offsets and indexing. Each module includes email functionality so brokers and employers can easily share the information with others.

(more…)

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