NAELA supports the principle that the SSI/SSDI programs are an integral source of income for low-income elderly and people with disabilities, and any changes in the programs should support continuing independence and quality of life when considering financial difficulties commonly suffered by persons of limited income and/or poor health. NAELA should take an active leadership role in coordinating efforts with other interest groups for the seniors and people with disabilities in reviewing and commenting on federal and state legislation affecting the SSI/SSDI programs and in meeting the following principles:

A. NAELA advocates that SSI benefits and cost of living increases be maintained at least at their present levels.

B. NAELA recommends a system which provides clear and timely notice of clients' rights under the Social Security Act and proposed actions by the Administration in language designed to communicate clearly to the broad range of SSI and SSDI applicants, recipients, and representatives.

C. NAELA supports the development of a fair and compassionate system governing lump sum payments, gifts, and transfers between family members and significant others which encourages the valuable personal and financial contributions of the family and supports the mutual, voluntary assistance that friends and family members traditionally provide to one another in times of crisis, specifically removing provisions counting in-kind support and maintenance as income if the recipient does not live in the same household as the contributor.

D. NAELA recommends that SSI recipients should have the opportunity to use lump sum receipt of funds for the purchase of excluded resources and the payment of expenses not covered by SSI and Medical Assistance.

E. NAELA supports the maintenance and development of realistic work incentives for SSI/SSDI recipients.

F. NAELA recommends that SSA improve claims and appeals management to allow for prompt processing and timely decisions on applications and appeals.

G. NAELA supports a level of administrative staffing, training, and funding which enables the program to operate efficiently and effectively.

H. NAELA supports a disability evaluation procedure that allows reasonable weight to be given to any verifiable mental or physical condition, or combination of conditions, including subjective complaints, that significantly reduces an individual?s residual mental and/or physical capacity, and prevents the individual from performing substantial gainful activity in the competitive workplace.

I. NAELA opposes the creation of any appeal process that removes post administrative appeal jurisdiction of Social Security cases from a United States District Court.

J. NAELA supports the right of claimants in the Social Security appeals process to be represented by competent counsel. To this end, NAELA supports efforts to enact statutes and regulations that promote fair and timely processing of fee petitions and fee agreements and the prompt payment of claimant's representatives. NAELA also opposes regulations that place undue administrative burden on Social Security claimants or their representatives in the processing and payment of representative's fees and specifically supports clarifying attorney fee approval regulations in defining what constitutes “practice” before the Social Security Administration and otherwise supports eliminating fee approval requirements for services before the SSA when fees are paid by a third party from funds that are not in the control of the recipient.

K. NAELA supports a fair and reasonable system of overpayment recovery that does not place the individual in a financial situation threatening health or safety through recovery of overpaid funds.

L. NAELA supports a policy of requiring the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to acquiesce to all court decisions.

M. NAELA supports clarification by the SSA to address the inconsistency in the regulations and operating procedures to clearly state that transfers of funds to an OBRA 93 d4C pooled trust by a recipient age 65 or over do not constitute a transfer causing a period of SSI disqualification.

Resolutions adopted by the NAELA Board of Directors November 19, 1998
Revised June 29, 2007
Posted March 2013