October 22, 2020

Disabled And Senior Citizens Continue To Suffer During Minnesota Shut Down

The state of Minnesota has been going through some very difficult times since the start of the 2011 Fiscal year on July 1st. Many programs that provided aid to disabled and senior citizens have been completely cut off from government funding, leaving countless citizens empty handed and without any of the aid previously deemed necessary to living.

Currently, Democratic and Republican politicians have been having ongoing discussions and court hearings in an attempt to determine what services will begin working once again. Services that are provided by medicaid have been deemed necessary to life by a judge and are still accepted in Minnesota’s health department, but many other services that did not service medicaid customers have been entirely shut down with no notice of expected return.

The toll-free hotlines that previously serviced the disabled, elderly, blind, and otherwise handicapped members of society no longer have the funding to keep employees working, and recorded messages are played for anyone who attempts to speak with a representative about their situation. While police, fire, and hunting regulation officers will continue to perform their active duties, services that provide care to elderly in their homes will no longer be available until further notice.

Among a few of the important programs that will no longer be available for the extent of the shutdown will include services that provide help to senior and disabled citizens with finding housing, tax courts, social security child care subsidies, holds on social security checks, and a number of other services and programs. Governor Mark Dayton has been steadily working the state’s officials and representatives in both political parties to reach a plan that will return necessary funding to the health department, the education department, and a number of other funds that have been entirely cut off for over two weeks.

Many of the departments that accept new applicants to receive senior or disabled aid will not be accepting new registrants as long as the budget cuts remain, and making changes to your existing case with the SSA or any other government office in Minnesota is nearly impossible. A new proposal issued by Governor Mark Dayton plans to return the cities of Minnesota to their normal funding levels through “tobacco bonds” and other bonding bills within the next year.

Minnesota Disability

Shutdown May End

Minnesota Shutdown 2011: Budget Dispute Remains Unresolved (LATEST UPDATES)

Minnesota State Council On Disability

Social Security Disability Stops Because of Death Mistakes

The “Death Master File” document of the Social Security department has been receiving a lot of flack recently as an 87 year old Washington native, Joyce Simpson, had her social security number and account closed after wrongfully being reported dead. The woman claimed that she was “scared to death” when she realized that she had stopped receiving all of her Social Security and pension checks outright, and was completely appalled after realizing that she had been declared dead in 1997.

The same list in question is regularly used by Medicare and Social Security to verify deserved benefits, and is also referred to when determining the eligibility of a bank loan or any line of credit, so it’s no wonder quite a few heads have been turned at the statement given by Social Security spokesman Mark Hinkle, admitting that one in every 200 entries into their death master files are false due to “inadvertent keying errors.”

Joyce Simpson claims that the error did not take place through an unknown computing office at some distant location, but rather at her local bank branch. Simpson’s husband had just passed away, and she was visiting the bank to have his name removed from her accounts. Instead, the employee removed Joyce Simpson from the account, eventually landing her name in the Death Master File list a few years later.

Joyce Simpson claims that fixing this calamity has been an ongoing struggle that has lasted a number of years, and she’s certainly not alone. A reported 32,000 wrongfully added names were removed from the death list after similar cases brought light to this travesty of a mix-up.

Some of the troubles that victims of similar mistakes had to face were the cancellation of pensions, home mortgage issues, applying for student and credit loans, trouble finding employment, and plenty of other small or large problems that took years to fix.

“We make it clear that our death records are not perfect and may be incomplete or, rarely, include information about individuals who are alive” is the defense that Social Security spokesman gave in a conference, but quite a few citizens are still having trouble coping with the fact that they were pronounced dead wrongfully.

Seattle Times

Kitsap Co. Women Among Social Security’s ‘Dead’

Small Town Newspaper Produces First Rate Story: Serious Problems With Death Master File

Washington State Women Among Social Security’s ‘Walking Dead’

Kitsap Co. Women Among Social Security’s ‘Dead’

Social Security Appeals Backed Up

“A recent report shows that there are more than 740,000 pending Social Security appeals awaiting a ruling on benefits eligibility. This is an approximately 5% increase over the number of pending cases from a year ago. There are several suggested reasons for the increase including the rise in unemployment and disabled citizens being unable to find jobs because of the current economy. The report measured data from both Social Security Disability Insurance, which benefits those who show they have long term injuries or illness and will not be able to continue working, and Supplemental Security Income, which assists those who are aged, blind, or disabled with very little or no income.

Social Security Appeals Backed Up

The increase in the number of pending cases is problematic because based on what has happened in the past, as the growth in the number of the cases continues, hearing dockets will become more clogged and wait times will increase even more. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research organization that examined the statistics and released their findings, said that wait times are on average 367 days. In a goal set by the Social Security Administration, this number was supposed to be reduced to 270 days by 2013. However, the SSA was hit with economic realities of their own and canceled plans to open eight additional hearing offices, which would have aided the agency greatly in getting more cases heard in a more reasonable time frame. The number of pending cases varies but the states that have seen the greatest increase over the last year are Georgia, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The process of obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance can be complicated and lengthy. Disabled Americans initially file a claim for benefits at a local agency in their state. If their initial claim is denied, they are able to request reconsideration. If the claim for benefits is denied twice, then they are entitled to an appeal before an Administrative Law Judge at the Social Security Administration. Given the steps that disabled people must take prior to even reaching the appeal level, it is clear why a year long wait in addition to the initial claim period is a concern.

Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue questioned whether the report was truly a measure of anything significant. Astrue noted that while their goal of reducing the number of average number of days to hear a case might not be met, the most important thing was that benefit decisions were being delivered in a shorter amount of time and being processed quicker. A spokesman from the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives agreed with the Commissioner’s view and noted that cases were being decided faster and that was the most important thing for those applying for benefits and that the main concern was would this progress continue in light of budgetary concerns.”

Find out more, visit:

USA Today

Social Security Administration Hearings and Appeals

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse

National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives

AARP Social Security Disability Fact Sheet