This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.
Social Security Online
Social Security Update
February 2011

In This Issue:

Funding for Social Security is Critical

Funding for Social Security is CriticalFor more than 75 years, Social Security has provided hundreds of millions of Americans with an economic safety net. As the baby boomers retire and reach their disability-prone years, Social Security's workloads continue to grow. In addition, the economic downturn has greatly increased the demand for our services. Despite this dramatic growth in our work, through increased employee productivity, new initiatives, and improved funding we have reversed a trend of declining service and an increasing backlog in our disability workloads.

The President's fiscal year (FY) '12 budget request of $12.5 billion for Social Security's administrative expenses will allow us to maintain staffing in our front-line components, fund ongoing activities, and cover our inflationary increases. It will allow us to reduce our hearings and initial disability claims backlogs, and to continue to reverse the decline in our program integrity work.

Full funding by Congress of the President's FY '12 budget request is critical. It's the minimum the agency needs to continue to reduce key backlogs and to increase deficit-reducing program integrity work.

For more information about the President's 2012 budget request for Social Security, visit

Social Security Joins National Consumer Protection Week 2011

Social Security Joins National Consumer Protection Week 2011Social Security is joining with Federal, State, and local government agencies and national organizations to recognize March 6-12, 2011 as National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW). During NCPW, organizations share tips and information that help consumers protect their privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft, and avoid frauds and scams. Learn more about National Consumer Protection Week at

Webinar for Young Workers

Webinar for Young Workers Young adults aged 18 to 24 will want to tune in to our upcoming webinar, "Social Security 101: What's in it for me?" The webinar will tell them everything they need to know about Social Security. Most young adults don't realize that we do more than pay retirement benefits and issue Social Security cards. Social Security provides disability benefits to covered workers, as well as benefits to dependent family members of workers who die. Young people also may not know how the Social Security system works how it's funded, what a FICA tax is, or how to qualify for benefits.

The broadcast starts at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 10, and will feature a brief presentation followed by an interactive question-and-answer period. We'll be posting the recorded session on our website for those who miss the live broadcast. Visit the link below to register!

Compassionate Allowances Hearing on Autoimmune Disease

Compassionate Allowances Hearing on Autoimmune DiseaseOn March 16, 2011, Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, will hold the seventh Compassionate Allowances Outreach Hearing. The subject of the hearing is autoimmune disease.

People with autoimmune disease suffer from overactive immune responses. Generally, the immune system mistakes part of the body (substances and tissues normally in the body) for an infection and attacks. Essentially, the body is attacking its own cells.

Compassionate Allowances are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances make it possible for Social Security to quickly identify the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that we can obtain quickly.

To learn more, visit Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances page at

Electronic Payments Are a Must

Direct ExpressFor years, Social Security has stressed the convenience, security, and safety of getting benefit payments electronically. Soon, electronic payments will not only be the best way to receive Federal benefits it will be the only way.

That's because the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a new rule that will extend the safety and convenience of electronic payments to millions of Americans and phase out paper checks for Federal benefit and non-tax payments by March 1, 2013. In fact, effective May 1, 2011, all new recipients of Federal benefits, including those filing for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), must receive their payments electronically.

Go DirectElectronic payments are safer, easier, more reliable, less costly, and good for the environment. If you have clients who still get checks in the mail, have them visit today to sign up for direct deposit or Direct Express.


Women and Social Security: A Unique Marriage

Women and Social Security: A Unique MarriageOn average, women live longer, so they will have more time to enjoy their retirement years. It also means retirement for women will be more expensive. In the 21st century, more women work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward monthly retirement income than at any other time in our nation’s history.

The Social Security program treats all workers — men and women — exactly the same. But because of different life experiences, the real world results are different. It’s helpful for women to know what the program means to them in their particular circumstances. Besides understanding the benefits, women should be aware of other aspects of the Social Security program. There’s an easy way to learn all about Social Security for women: visit our “For Women” page at

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