This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.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

In This Issue:

Compassionate Allowances Hearing on Autoimmune Diseases

On March 16, 2011, Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, hosted the agency’s latest Compassionate Allowances Outreach Hearing.

Commissioner Astrue was joined by Robert H. Carter, Deputy Director, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, and other Social Security officials in hearing testimony from some of the nation’s leading experts on autoimmune diseases about the possible methods of identifying and implementing Compassionate Allowances for adults and children with autoimmune diseases.

Compassionate Allowances enable Social Security to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants with medical conditions so severe that their conditions by definition meet Social Security's standards. We can then quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that we can obtain quickly.

To learn more, to read the testimony, or to view any portion of the March 16 hearing, visit Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances page at

"Ticket to Work" Works Ticket to Work

“Ticket to Work” is a program that helps people with disabilities find meaningful employment, allowing them to take steps toward greater self-sufficiency. Thousands of individuals with disabilities have successfully used their “ticket” to get the support services they need to re-enter the workforce and dramatically improve the quality of their lives.  Here are just two real life examples.

Willie struggled to cope with a chemical imbalance and anxiety disorder while working until eventually she had to quit her job due to her disability. The Ticket to Work program offered her the opportunity to ease back into a job without risking the loss of benefits. Today, Willie works as a personal care assistant at a large retirement community. She credits Ticket to Work with giving her the extra confidence she needed to take that step back into the workplace and be economically self-sufficient.

After several personal tragedies, including the death of her baby, Veronica became depressed and began receiving disability benefits. Ticket to Work helped turn her life back around. Now, she is working and says, “I feel great.”

Learn more about how Ticket to Work worked for Willie and Veronica, and thousands of others by visiting

Learn how Ticket to Work can work for your clients at

Commissioner of Social Security Speaks to Congress about Budget Commissioner Astrue

On March 9, Commissioner Astrue testified before Congress regarding the agency’s fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget request.

 “Our programs provide a safety net for the public and contribute to the increased financial security for the elderly and disabled,” Commissioner Astrue said. “Social Security benefits not only provide a lifeline to our beneficiaries and their families, but also are vital to the Nation's economy.”

Commissioner Astrue testified that although Social Security has made great progress in improving services for the American public, that progress will be jeopardized without full funding of the President's FY 2011 and 2012 budget requests. “Millions of deserving Americans count on us, and we need your continued support to provide the service they expect and deserve,” he said.

Learn more by reading the Commissioner’s testimony at BudgetTestimony030911.pdf

Help Your Clients Be Financially Literate

Get a head start on making sure your clients are financially literate. April is Financial Literacy Month—a time for all Americans to focus on understanding financial issues that can help them plan for their futures. We at Social Security believe retirement planning should be high on everyone’s list, and we have online tools to help.

One of the best ways for your clients to begin retirement planning
is with our Retirement Planner at Our Retirement Estimator at gives you the ability and flexibility to test different retirement ages and learn how to maximize retirement benefits by delaying retirement.

mymoney.govWe also recommend a visit to This government site has a wealth of information from multiple agencies covering an array of topics—from buying a home to paying for college.

Go Online for Earth Day Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day. On that day, as well as throughout the year, Social Security is committed to conserving energy and reducing waste. Our agency has buildings across the nation that boast high-efficiency lighting, solar hot water heating systems, high-performance windows, solar lighting in parking lots, improved HVAC systems, chilled water system improvements, and much more.

What’s more, Social Security offers many of our popular services online. These services are more than just convenient and easy-to-use. They’re also great for the environment. There’s no paper, printing, postage, or travel needed. Our most popular online services include:

Tell your clients to go online to

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