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Washington, DC – On Friday, July 29, at 11 am ET, a Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities working group will provide a policy briefing on marriage penalties in SSA programs. Participants will talk about how marital status affects Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments.

Briefing on Social Security Marriage Penalties

Presenters include:

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 The Board is committed to ensuring all sessions are accessible to the public. Public sessions will be recorded with live closed captioning. To request an accommodation, please email events@ssab.gov. The Board can meet requests more effectively if notice is provided at least three business days before the event.

 The Board’s mission is to advise the President, Congress, and Commissioner of Social Security on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. The Board is comprised of Presidential and Congressional appointees with professional staff.

Washington, DC – Today, the Board released its 2022 SSI Statement urging SSA to introduce a separate online application for older adults applying for SSI whose eligibility is based solely on non-medical criteria. For these claimants, a separate online process would simplify and eliminate much of the lengthy SSI application that those applying for disability payments must complete.

Read the Board’s SSI Statement

The introduction of an online SSI application for older adults may increase access and lower administrative costs. However, it may also introduce barriers if customer experience and design principles that support diverse user needs do not drive its development. The Board’s statement highlights accessibility and usability factors that SSA should consider, including internet access, authentication, service preferences, and application design and functionality. A separate online application could enable older adults to complete the process independently or with the support of others.

The statement is included in SSA’s 2022 Annual Report of the SSI Program. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 gives Board members the opportunity, individually or jointly, to include their views on SSI in SSA’s annual report to the President and Congress.

Access previous SSI Statements

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The Board’s mission is to advise the President, Congress, and Commissioner of Social Security on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. The Board is comprised of Presidential and Congressional appointees with professional staff.

The Board’s 2022 SSI Statement urges SSA to introduce a separate online application for older adults applying for SSI whose eligibility is based solely on non-medical criteria. For these claimants, a separate online process would simplify and eliminate much of the lengthy SSI application that those applying for disability payments must complete.

The introduction of an online SSI application for older adults may increase access and lower administrative costs. However, it may also introduce barriers if customer experience and design principles that support diverse user needs do not drive its development. The Board’s statement highlights accessibility and usability factors that SSA should consider, including internet access, authentication, service preferences, and application design and functionality. A separate online application could enable older adults to complete the process independently or with the support of others.

The statement is included in SSA’s 2022 Annual Report of the SSI Program. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 gives Board members the opportunity, individually or jointly, to include their views on SSI in SSA’s annual report to the President and Congress. The Board’s other SSI Statements are available here.

 

On Friday, May 20, the Board hosted a public session with Professors Pamela Herd and Sebastian Jilke on researching and evaluating equitable access to Social Security programs.

Professor Herd gave examples of administrative burdens in the SSI program and concluded by identifying opportunities to improve outreach, simplify application complexity, and outsource third-party support. Jilke highlighted the use of mailers and behavioral nudges to promote equitable access and the need to personalize and continuously test the interventions used. After the presentations, the professors fielded questions from Board members and the public.

Researching and Evaluating Equitable Access to Social Security Programs

Key Documents

Speakers

Herd is a Professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and co-author of the acclaimed book: Administrative Burden. Herd’s research focuses on health, aging, and policy.

 

 

Jilke is an Associate Professor at the McCourt School, where he co-directs the Better Government Lab. Jilke also works with the Office of Evaluation Sciences, where he helps develop and implement RCTs.

 

 

Past Board Work

Roundtable on Social Security’s Public Service

On May 20, 2021, the Board held two panel discussions: one on understanding how the COVID pandemic impacted how SSA serves people and the second on identifying underserved populations and relevant research questions.

Paper on Field Office Closures

On June 3, 2020, the Board released a paper examining SSA’s decisions to close local field offices before the COVID pandemic.

Washington, DC – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Andrew G. Biggs to serve on the Social Security Advisory Board, an independent agency with a seven-member bipartisan board that advises the president, Congress, and the Commissioner of Social Security on policies related to the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. The position is subject to Senate confirmation.

Biggs is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.  Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of SSA, where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security.

Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television and has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue-ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future. In 2014, Institutional Investor Magazine named him one of the 40 most influential people in the retirement world. In 2016, he was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the financial control board overseeing reforms to Puerto Rico’s budget and the restructuring of the island’s debts.

Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a PhD from the London School of Economics.

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The Board’s mission is to advise the President, Congress, and Commissioner of Social Security on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. The Board is comprised of Presidential and Congressional appointees with professional staff.

Washington, DC – On Friday, May 20, from 1 to 2:30 pm ET, the Social Security Advisory Board will host a public session with Professors Pamela Herd and Sebastian Jilke on how research about people’s experience with Social Security can improve government services, particularly for people who encounter barriers to access.

View the Recording Here

As Social Security begins implementing its equity plan and research agenda, Herd and Jilke will discuss:

Herd is a Professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and co-author of the acclaimed book: Administrative Burden. Herd’s research focuses on health, aging, and policy.

 

 

Jilke is an Associate Professor at the McCourt School, where he co-directs the Better Government Lab. Jilke also works with the Office of Evaluation Sciences, where he helps develop and implement RCTs.

 

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The Board is committed to ensuring all sessions are accessible to the public. Public sessions will be recorded with live closed captioning. To request an accommodation, please email events@ssab.gov. The Board can meet requests more effectively if notice is provided at least three business days before the event.

The Board’s mission is to advise the President, Congress, and Commissioner of Social Security on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. The Board is comprised of Presidential and Congressional appointees with professional staff.

Social Security’s disability determination process requires the collection of medical evidence by federally funded state agencies to determine medical eligibility for disability benefit claims. These agencies are challenged to collect sufficient evidence to support timely decisions. In a May 2022 paper, the Board recommends research on ways to speed medical evidence collection.

Previous Board Work

September 2021 Public Session on State Agencies’ Role in Social Security Disability Determinations

On September 232021, the Board hosted a morning and afternoon public session on state agencies’ role in Social Security disability determinations. During the morning session, former Social Security executives briefed the Board on the regulations governing roles in the disability determination process. During the afternoon session, state DDS Directors—representing agencies of varying sizes and organizational structures, and states with different demographic and socioeconomic characteristics—described the unique challenges they face managing disability determinations in their states. Watch the roundtable.

July 2021 Roundtable on Medical Evidence Collection – the Cornerstone of Social Security Disability Determination

On July 29, 2021, the Board brought together state DDS managers and staff, a claimant attorney, and former Social Security executives for a roundtable on the agency’s medical evidence collection process. The roundtable covered an introduction to the evidence collection process and state approaches to collecting evidence. Watch the roundtable.