May 15, 2013

NSCLC and Other Advocates Urge Fixes to Social Security Programs

NSCLC Executive Director Paul Nathanson joined U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Keith Ellison (D-MN), David Cicilline (D-RI)  as well as other Strengthen Social Security Coalition leaders who spoke to fixes needed and called for more funding for administrative functions. Watch a video of the event online.

WASHINGTON  —  Released today, a report from the Strengthen Social Security Coalition recognizes the importance of how core administrative functions impact the lives of 57 million Social Security and eight million Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.

Specifically, the “Transition Report for the New Commissioner of Social Security” report highlights issues needing improvement such as language access by applicants and recipients, funding, customer service, public understanding and research. The report also urges attention to serious delays in disability determinations and the appeals process.

National Senior Citizens Law Center Executive Director Paul Nathanson told members of Congress and advocates at a Capitol Hill event today that “This report is significant because it shows however well intentioned a program is, it won’t work on the street unless it recognizes the needs of its users.”

The report recommends that more attention be paid to the needs of those who speak languages other than English, starting with SSI program. Over one third of those applying for SSI on the basis of age speak languages other than English. The report notes that recipient questions about benefit levels are far more likely to occur because of SSI’s complexity.

“NSCLC has a long history of working with SSA and looks forward to joining with the new commissioner to fix problems, especially those that impact the rights of the elderly poor to income security,” added Nathanson.

The coalition is made up of more than 320 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans. Nathanson is co-chair of the coalition’s Adequacy of Benefits Committee and NSCLC staff contributed to this report. To see a copy of the full report, click here.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to protect the rights of low-income older adults. Through advocacy, litigation, and the education and counseling of local advocates, we seek to ensure the health and economic security of those with limited income and resources, and access to the courts for all. For more information, visit our Web site at

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