National Disability Day
National Disability Day, observed on December 3, is a day to help everyone become more compassionate
and understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities. For decades, Social Security has
been at the forefront of helping people with disabilities, including wounded warriors and children.
Please share our online disability resources with your clients and encourage them to share them with
friends and families.
Seasonal Work and Social Security
Each year, companies hire people for seasonal work and work-from-home positions. Such jobs include
customer service, sales, tech support, call center representatives, healthcare support, and order
taking/review. Seasonal positions may help bridge employment gaps on your resume. They show that you
take initiative and that you are ready, willing, and able to succeed. They also can help you to develop
new or strengthen existing skills through training.
If your clients receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits based on
disability or blindness, special rules make it possible for people to work and still receive monthly
payments. If they want to try working again, seasonal work may help them ease back into the workforce.
Have them read Working While Disabled at
www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf or visit our Ticket to Work website at https://choosework.ssa.gov
Commemorating World AIDS Day
Each year on December 1, we commemorate World AIDS Day. It is an opportunity to demonstrate our unity
in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Social Security is there throughout life’s journey. When disability
strikes, we’re there providing your clients with benefits, tools, and information to support them at
their time of need.
If your clients have HIV/AIDS and cannot work, they may qualify for Social Security or SSI benefits,
as long as they meet our disability requirements. We pay disability benefits to people who can’t work
because of a medical condition that’s expected to last at least a year or end in death. Their medical
condition must also be serious enough to prevent them from doing substantial gainful work.
Our publication Social Security for People Living with HIV/AIDS explains in detail how our
benefits work, how to qualify, what they need to apply, and how our claims process works. Your clients
can read it at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10019.pdf.
The most important thing is, if your clients think they qualify for benefits, don’t wait, have them
National Disability Forum — Enhancing the Reconsideration Process
We held our most recent National Disability Forum on November 28, 2018 at the Partnership for Public
Service. The title for this forum was Enhancing the Reconsideration Process. There were 340
registrants, including the livestream attendees.
Acting Chief of Staff Bea Disman provided opening remarks. Grace Kim, Acting Assistant Deputy
Commissioner for Operations, welcomed the participants. Darlynda Bogle, Executive Secretary in the
Office of the Acting Commissioner of Social Security was the moderator. Kathryn Olson, Democratic Staff
Director, House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security provided additional
remarks. There were several panelists:
- Phoebe Ball, Legislative Affairs Specialist, National Council on Disability
- Cheryl Bates-Harris, Senior Disability Advocacy Specialist, National Disability Rights Network
- Dr. Sharon Bland-Brady, President, National Association of Disability Examiners
- Lisa Ekman, Director of Government Affairs, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’
- Trudy Lyon-Hart, Policy/Quality Committee Chair and Board Member, National Council of Disability
- Christopher Mazzulli, Treasurer, National Association of Disability Representatives
To further support the exchange of ideas and opinions, an online engagement platform with pre-posted
questions was available from November 29 to December 14. This platform, IdeaScale, allows users to post
their answers or to add comments. You and your clients can learn more about Social Security’s National
Disability Forum at
Social Security Benefits to Increase in 2019
Each year we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Usually, there is an increase in
the benefit amount people will receive each month, starting the following January. By law, federal
benefits increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer
Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
As a result, more than 67 million Americans will see a 2.8 percent increase in their Social Security
and SSI benefits in 2019.
January 2019 marks other changes that will happen based on the increase in the national average wage
index. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax, as well as
the retirement earnings test exempt amount, will change in 2019.
Earlier this month, we posted Social Security COLA notices online for retirement, survivors, and
disability beneficiaries who have a my
Social Security account. Your clients will be able to view and
save these COLA notices via the Message Center inside their my
Social Security accounts.
Encourage your clients to sign up to receive notifications of important information from us by
creating or logging in to their personal my
Social Security account today at
www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. They can choose email or text under “Message Center
receive courtesy notifications so they won’t miss their electronic COLA notice next year.
This year, everyone still received their COLA notice by mail. In the future, they will be able to
choose whether to receive their notice online instead of on paper. Online notices will not be available
to representative payees, individuals with foreign mailing addresses, or those who pay higher Medicare
premiums due to their income. We plan to expand the availability of COLA notices to additional online
customers in the future.
More information about the 2019 COLA is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.
Social Security Holiday Field Office Closings
Social Security’s spirit of giving endures all year long, but we’d like to wish you Happy Holidays from our
family to yours! If you plan to do business with us during the holiday season, we want you to know that our
offices will be closed on Christmas Eve, December 24, Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year’s Day, January
1, but our online services are available every day.
For a list of our secure and convenient online services, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices.