Faces & Facts of Disability: Share Charlotte’s Story

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is one of the many serious afflictions that can attack unexpectedly and rob workers of their livelihood. No one knows this better than Charlotte, who suffered two debilitating strokes in 2007 that left her unable to work.

Before her strokes, Charlotte was working three jobs, going to college, and taking care of a family member with cancer. Now a relative looks after her, and many daily activities she once took for granted are beyond her current capability. Thankfully, she had earned Social Security insurance coverage by paying into the program throughout her working life. Without Social Security payments to replace a portion of her lost income, she’s sure she would be homeless today.

We hope you will place this video on your organization’s website, include it in your social media posts, and distribute it to your email lists.  By sharing Charlotte’s story, you can help us spread the word about our programs, which provide a critical safety net for working men and women, children, the disabled, and the elderly when they need it most.

Watch Now

Visit our Faces and Facts of Disability website for more personal stories, facts about the disability program, and ready-to-publish educational materials.  Please take advantage of these materials to help the public understand how Social Security disability insurance protects workers and assists our most vulnerable citizens—those living with severe disabilities.


Partner with us to help Americans plan and save for retirement

Social Security, along with the American Savings Education Council, the Consumer Federation of America, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, and the U.S. Department of Treasury, launched the “Campaign for a Secure Retirement:  Helping Millions of Americans Plan and Save for Retirement.”  The campaign is a joint educational retirement campaign to encourage retirement planning and saving and to promote the online Social Security Statement, available through my Social Security , as an important retirement planning tool.

Help us help the public understand the importance of saving for retirement by taking our pledge.

By supporting this campaign, you will receive periodic updates and promotional materials to use across your various communication channels to remind your friends, colleagues, employees, and members that it’s never too early, or too late, to begin saving for retirement.

Each month, we will target different audiences and focus on different themes, such as women in March, financial literacy in April, and older Americans and small businesses in May. You can stay up to date on our many activities at our informational page for Groups and Organizations.

If you have any questions about the campaign or ideas that you would like us to consider, please contact us at oea.net.post@ssa.gov.


A message from our new Associate Commissioner

Greetings!

Last week, I had the honor and privilege of joining Social Security’s Office of External Affairs as Associate Commissioner. I would like to introduce myself to all of you, our valued partners, who make our communications and outreach efforts a success.

During the last four years, I served in several positions at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and was responsible for public and legislative affairs, coalition building, and policy development. Before that, I spent over seven years on Capitol Hill, first as a congressional correspondent for Newsday, followed by positions with the Committee on Ways and Means and the Congressional Black Caucus.

As a journalist and public servant, I know the importance of teamwork, engagement and effective communication. The Office of External Affairs has an excellent history of partnering with organizations like yours. I look forward to working with you and strengthening our relationships to deliver service to the public we all serve.

Feel free to contact me by email at oea.net.post@ssa.gov.

Thank you for your continuing support, and we will talk again soon.

Sincerely,

J. Jioni Palmer
Associate Commissioner for External Affairs


Postponed – National Disability Coalition, New Date to be Determined

We regret to inform you that we are postponing the March 5th National Disability Coalition meeting due to scheduling conflicts. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the postponement, and we are working diligently to identify an alternate day and time.

We also would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation in the IdeaScale question:

“How can we better determine whether the medical condition(s) of an individual with a disability has improved and is no longer disabling? For example, are there specific medical conditions we should review more frequently or other factors we should specifically consider?”

We received great input, and our policy experts are reviewing all of the comments received. We look forward to continuing this ongoing conversation to improve the disability program at our next meeting.

Again, please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this meeting postponement may cause, and we hope to be in touch soon with more information.


Social Security Launches New Anti-Fraud Website

Recently, Social Security launched an informative new web page that highlights the agency's many efforts in fighting fraud and protecting every worker's investment in the Social Security program. The web address is www.socialsecurity.gov/antifraudfacts.

Visitors to this site will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the hard work we do every day to fight fraud, waste, and abuse in our programs. The website includes information on the tools we use to fight fraud, spotlights some of our highly successful anti-fraud efforts, and provides materials you can use to help us spread the word that Social Security has zero tolerance for fraud.

We invite you to visit the website and use the materials to help us inform the public that Social Security takes fraud seriously and is very effective in limiting the instances of fraud.

We hope you will join us in disseminating the facts about our anti-fraud efforts as we work together to prevent the use of inaccurate information about fraud to advocate cutbacks in the disability program.

Please feel free to contact us at oea.net.post@ssa.gov with comments—or to discuss further ways that your organization can collaborate with Social Security to raise awareness about our efforts.


Replacement Form SSA-1099/1042S for Tax Purposes

With the new year comes tax season—something we all have to prepare for. Americans spend over 13 hours every year doing their taxes.  Knowing how difficult filing taxes can be, we would like to help you keep the process as simple as possible. We are excited to offer a new online service to help people who receive Social Security benefits have the information they need to file their tax returns. If your clients receive Social Security benefits, but did not receive or misplaced their SSA-1099, they can use an online my Social Security account to get an instant replacement for tax purposes. Setting up an account is easy, secure, and convenient. They just need to go to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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Social Security to Expand Field Office Hours Nationwide

Social Security announced today that effective March 16, 2015, as a result of Congress’ approval of the fiscal year 2015 budget, the agency will expand its hours nationwide and offices will be open to the public for an additional hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  Offices will continue to close to the public at noon every Wednesday so employees have time to complete current work and reduce backlogs.

“This expansion of office hours reaffirms our commitment to providing the people we serve the option of top-notch, face-to-face assistance in field offices even as we work to expand online services for those who prefer that flexibility,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “The public expects and deserves world-class customer service and thanks to approved funding, I am pleased we will continue our tradition of exceptional service.”

For more information about Social Security’s decision to expand field office hours, see our press release.

Please share this information with your members, colleagues, affiliates, and other interested parties.


Vision 2025 Survey: Help Shape the Future of Customer Service at Social Security

Social Security is developing a long-range vision and strategic plan, called Vision 2025, and we want to hear from you.

Vision 2025 represents our efforts to ensure that we continue to provide excellent service to our customers today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, and beyond.

We would like you to participate in an online survey to tell us how we can best serve the American public in the future. The survey should only take a few minutes to complete.

Please help us spread the word by letting your members, associates, and colleagues know about this exciting opportunity to help shape the future of customer service at Social Security.

Here's how you can help: Complete our survey and tell us how you would prefer to conduct business with us in the next 10 to 15 years.

We will also be promoting this survey through Facebook and Twitter, and we invite you to share or retweet these posts. We look forward to your opinions and ideas to help us serve the public in the coming years.


Social Security Resumes Mailing Social Security Statements

We are pleased to announce that, beginning this month, we are resuming periodic mailings of paper Social Security Statements to workers age 25 and older.  Even though most workers will receive a mailing every 5 years, we encourage everyone to create a secure my Social Security account at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, which will allow them immediate access to their online Statement anytime.

The Statement is a valuable financial planning tool providing workers with important individualized information regarding their earnings, tax contributions, and estimates for future retirement, disability and survivors benefits.

Please read the full press release, including a statement by Social Security’s Acting Commissioner, Carolyn W. Colvin, here.

Thank you for your continued support as we strive to keep workers informed about Social Security.  Please help us encourage all workers to sign up for a my Social Security account to regularly review their earnings record and obtain estimates of future benefits for themselves and their families.


Social Security News on Debt Referral Process

You may have read recent news articles related to the Social Security Administration recovering debts from tax refunds under the Treasury Offset Program. In 2008, there was a change in the law that eliminated the statute of limitations related to the Treasury Offset Program. This change allows Federal agencies to refer debts that are more than 10 years old to the Treasury Offset Program for collection. Our agency takes a number of steps to notify individuals of potential adverse actions before attempting to recover delinquent debts.

To be clear, Social Security does not refer the following to the Treasury Offset Program:

  • Children with overpayments established prior to the age of 18,
  • Debt that previously belonged to a parent or other relative, or
  • Deceased debtors.

We just wanted to let you know that pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the law to collect these overpayments, our Acting Commissioner, Carolyn W. Colvin, has halted further referrals of debts that are 10 years old and older to the Treasury Offset Program.

If any Social Security or Supplemental Security Income beneficiary believes his or her tax refund has been withheld incorrectly to recover an overpayment under this program, we encourage the individual to request an explanation or seek options to resolve the overpayment. Inquiries may be directed to our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
You can find Acting Commissioner Colvin’s statement concerning this issue at www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/2014/acoss-statement-pr.html.

Please let your colleagues and members know of this important development. As always, we appreciate your ongoing efforts to help us serve the American people.