January 22, 2001

President Signs H.R. 4577/P.L. 106-554, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001

On December 21, 2000, the President signed into law H.R. 4577 (Public Law 106-554), the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001. The law is comprised of several appropriations measures including the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001 which funds, among other activities, the operations of the Social Security Administration.

Below are descriptions of SSA program-related provisions contained in the Act.

SSI and Special Veteran Provisions in Labor, HHS, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5656)

Title V-Related Agencies-Social Security Administration, Title VI-Assets for Independence

State Supplementary Payment Remittance (Section 515)

  • Changes the effective date of the provision in the "Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999" (P.L. 106-170) regarding State supplementary remittances from "for months after September 2009" to "for months beginning after September 2001." The provision requires that a State, which has entered into an agreement with the Commissioner for Federal administration of the State's supplementary payments, to remit payments and fees no later than the business day preceding the SSI payment date.

Authority To Administer State Payments to Veterans Receiving Title VIII Benefits (Section 518)

  • Authorizes the Commissioner of Social Security to make State payments to qualified veterans who are receiving Special Veterans Benefits under title VIII of the Social Security Act.
  • Provides that administrative fees and other provisions (similar to those in State supplementary payment program under the SSI program-except for the maintenance-of-effort requirement) also would apply to the State recognition payments under title VIII. The administrative fees would be credited to a special fund of the U.S. Treasury to defray expenses in carrying out title VIII and federally administered State recognition payments.
  • The provision is effective upon enactment.
  • SSI Treatment of Statutory Employees (Section 519)
  • Provides that in the case of an individual who is defined as a Social Security statutory employee, his or her net profit from self-employment-rather than reported wages--would be counted in determining SSI eligibility and benefit amount. There are four categories of statutory employees-certain full-time life insurance sales people, agent drivers or commission drivers, homeworkers and full-time traveling or city salespeople. While these individuals will continue to be treated as statutory employees for Social Security purposes and self-employed for income tax purposes, they now will be treated as self-employed for SSI purposes.
  • The provision is effective upon enactment.

Individual Development Accounts (Section 610)

  • Excludes for determining means-tested program eligibility and benefit amount, funds (and accrued interest) in an individual development account provided for under the "Assets for Independence Act" (P.L. 105-285). (Previously only matching funds were excluded. The funds deposited by the individual and interest on those deposits could have been counted for SSI purposes.)
  • The provision is effective upon enactment.

Treasury Department, the United States Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and Certain Independent Agencies Appropriations (H.R. 5658)
Title VI-General Provisions
Administrative Appeals Judges (Section 645)

  • Sets the pay for administrative appeals judges not classified above GS-15 at not less than the minimum rate of basic pay for level AL-3 and not greater than the maximum rate of basic pay for AL-3. Administrative appeals judges primarily review the decisions of administrative law judges appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105.
  • This provision applies with respect to pay for service performed on or after the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after the 120th day after enactment or if earlier, the effective date of regulations prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management.

Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000 (H.R. 5661)
Title I-Medicare Beneficiary Improvement, Title V-Provisions relating to Parts A and B, Title VI-Provisions Relating to Part C, and Title IX-Other Provisions
Waiver of 24-Month Waiting Period for Medicare Coverage of Individuals Disabled with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (Title I, Subtitle B, Section 115)

  • Amends section 226 of the Social Security Act to waive the 24-month Medicare waiting period for persons medically determined to have ALS effective July 1, 2001.

Revisions to Medicare Appeals Process (Title V, Subtitle C, Section 521)

  • Amends section 1869 of the Social Security Act by specifying the initial determination and appeal process for Medicare Part A or Part B benefit claims.
  • Establishes a 45-day period for the processing of initial claims, a 30-day period for the processing of appeals at the reconsideration level, a 90-day period for the processing of appeals at the hearing level, and a 90-day period for the processing of appeals to the Departmental Appeals Board of the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Permits the party requesting the hearing to waive the 90-day time limit at the hearing level.
  • These provisions apply with respect to initial determinations made on or after October 1, 2002.

Permitting Premium Reductions Additional Benefits Under Medicare+Choice Plans (Title VI, Subtitle A, Section 606)

  • Allows, beginning for plan year 2003, managed care providers participating in the Medicare Plus Choice program to offer beneficiaries, instead of options for additional services as required under current law, a reduction in the Part B Medicare premium. The reduction could take the form of a reduction in the premium withheld from monthly Social Security benefits, a retroactive adjustment in the amount withheld or a rebate.

Outreach on Availability of Medicare Cost-Sharing Assistance to Eligible Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (Title IX, Subtitle B, Section 911)

  • Adds section 1144 to the Social Security Act, which requires that the Commissioner of Social Security:
    • Identify Medicare beneficiaries-- Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs), Specified Low-Income Medicare (SLMBs), and Qualified Individuals (QI's) -- who may be eligible for payment of the cost of Medicare cost-sharing under the Medicaid program (although not specified, presumably on the basis of the amount of the beneficiary's title II benefit);
    • Notify individuals who may be eligible of the availability of cost sharing assistance under the Medicaid program that the assistance is conditioned on meeting the eligibility requirements, including an assets test, of individual States' cost-sharing programs under Medicaid;
    • Furnish each State agency administering a cost-sharing program under Medicaid the name and address of beneficiaries who live in that State and who are identified as potentially eligible for cost-sharing; and
    • Update information for the States each year, including information on beneficiaries who may have become eligible for a cost-sharing program during the year because of a reduction in their title II benefits.
  • The provision is effective one year after the date of enactment.
  • Requires that the Comptroller General study and report to the Congress on the impact of section 1144 on the enrollment in cost-sharing programs of individuals and make recommendations for legislative changes the Comptroller deems appropriate. The report is due 18 months after the Commissioner of Social Security first conducts outreach under the provision.

Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 (H.R. 5662)
Title III-Subtitle A-Administrative Provisions
Adjustments for Consumer Price Index Error (Section 308)

  • Directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to determine whether a technical error in the computation of the Consumer Price Index for 1999 has or will result in a shortfall in payments to beneficiaries of Federal benefits programs, including Social Security and SSI payments and payments under title VIII of the Social Security Act (Special Veterans Benefits) as compared to payments that would have been made had the error not occurred.
  • Requires the head of any agency administering Federal benefits programs to make an initial determination as to whether, and the extent to which, the error resulted in a shortfall to beneficiaries; and submit a report, no later than 30 days after enactment, to the Director of OMB and to each House of the Congress describing the shortfall.
  • Requires OMB, within 60 days after enactment, to direct that payment or payments be made to compensate for any identified shortfall.
  • Provides that payments made as a result of this change in the law shall be disregarded in determining income under title VIII of the Social Security Act or any applicable means-tested program.
  • Also requires the Director of OMB to submit to Congress by April 1, 2001, a report on the activities undertaken by OMB in accordance with this section.