The U.S. Department of Education announced yesterday (August 20, 2021) that it will cancel $5.8 billion in student debt for more than 320,000 borrowers. The debt forgiveness, which will go to borrowers with a total and permanent disability, will be automatically granted using data already available to the Social Security Administration. Borrowers will begin to see the relief in September.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) in April. Most Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients should have received their EIPs by now. If a person is missing their first or second EIP, they need to file a 2020 tax return with the IRS and claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) as soon as possible.
Any person who did not receive his or her EIP, or the full amount of their EIP, please read this carefully. To get any missing first or second EIPs, file a 2020 tax return with the IRS and claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) immediately. People should file the 2020 tax return even if they have no income to report for 2020. When the tax return is processed, the IRS will pay the RRC as a tax refund. The IRS will send any additional third EIP amount owed in 2021 separately.
If people already filed their 2020 tax return, they do not need to do anything else.
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 1.3 percent in 2021, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2021. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2020. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If the payroll tax deferral becomes permanent next year, as the President indicates he wants to do, the trust fund that pays out Social Security benefits could run out in three years without other funds to cover the shortfall, according to a new analysis.
The fund that provides disability benefits would deplete even sooner — by the second half of next year, according to the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration.
Currently, the Social Security funds are estimated to run out in 2034, while the disability fund is expected to remain solvent until 2065, according to the 2020 OASDI Trustees Report.
Social Security Unveils Redesigned Retirement Benefits Portal at socialsecurity.gov
The Social Security Administration announced the first of several steps the agency is taking to improve the public’s experience on its website. The newly redesigned retirement benefits portal, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement, will help millions of people prepare for and apply for retirement.
“We are working hard to continue improving our website to provide people with clear, helpful information and easy access to our online services,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security. “Our new retirement portal is more user-friendly and easier to navigate, whether someone is ready to learn about, apply for, or manage their retirement benefits.”
The redesigned portal will make it easier for people to find and read about Social Security retirement benefits, with fewer pages and condensed, rewritten, and clearer information. The portal also is optimized for mobile devices so people can learn and do what they want from wherever they want, and the portal now includes the ability to subscribe to receive retirement information and updates.
Good News Regarding Social Security Trust Fund
The Social Security Board of Trustees released their 2020 annual report earlier this week, which included some positive news: the financial health of the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund has improved significantly and can now pay full benefits until 2065. This estimate is 13 years more than what was indicated in last year’s report and 33 years longer than the 2018 report. After 2065, the trust fund is predicted to pay 92 percent of benefits.
Cost of Living Adjustment for 2020: Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits Increase in 2020
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 69 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020, according to a recent announcement by the Social Security Administration.
There are 2 new bills pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first is the Stop the Wait Act (H.R. 4386 and S. 2496). This bill would immediately eliminate the five month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and gradually phase out the 24-month waiting period for Medicare coverage for SSDI beneficiaries.
The second bill is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act (H.R. 4280). This bill would update SSI eligibility criteria. More particularly, the Act would increase the SSI resource limit to $10,000 for individuals, and to $20,000 for a married couple. It also would change the index that is used to calculate the annual Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) to the CPI-E. Additionally, the Act would repeal the in-kind support and maintenance provision, eliminate the marriage penalty, increase the general income exclusion from $20/month to $123/month, and increase the earned income exclusion from $65/month to $399/month. The dollar figures that were increased would also be annually adjusted for inflation.
Of course, each of these bills has to be approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and then signed by the President. Keep your fingers crossed.
Scammers claiming to be with the Social Security Administration
If you have watched the late night news over the past few years, you likely are aware that government imposter scams are skyrocketing. Since 2014 consumers have reported losses of more than $450 million as a result of these scams. In the first half of 2019, the Federal Trade Commission has received more than 200,000 complaints from people who were contacted by someone falsely claiming to be from the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service or another governmental entity.
Scammers claiming to be with the Social Security Administration are the latest of these government imposters. One of the latest scams involves a call from someone purporting to be from Social Security, and falsely contending that your Social Security account has been frozen or compromised. The aim of these calls is to steal your money or your personal information. If you receive a call like this, you should hang up immediately.
Andrew M. Saul was sworn in Monday June 17, 2019, as the Commissioner of Social Security at the agency’s office in Washington, D.C. He will serve a six-year term that expires on January 19, 2025. Commissioner Saul will be responsible for administering the Social Security retirement, disability and survivors insurance programs that pay over one trillion dollars annually in benefits to approximately 64 million beneficiaries, as well as the Supplemental Security Income program that provides cash assistance to more than 8 million people with limited income and resources. The agency has a national workforce of about 63,000 employees and 1,500 facilities across the country and around the world.