Summary: H.R.2684 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (12/05/1995)

Senior Citizens' Right to Work Act of 1995 - Amends title II (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Benefits) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act to provide, through adjustments in the monthly exempt amount, for increases in the amounts of allowable earnings under the Social Security earnings limit for individuals who have attained retirement age. Retains the current limit on substantial gainful activity earnings applicable to individuals under age 65 who are eligible for disability benefits based on blindness.

(Sec. 3) Establishes a Continuing Disability Review Administration Revolving Account for OASDI disability benefits in the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund.

Directs the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to estimate annually the present value of savings to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund which will accrue for all years as a result of cessation of benefit payments resulting from continuing disability reviews carried out pursuant to specified requirements during the fiscal year. Directs the Managing Trustee to: (1) transfer to the Account from amounts otherwise in the Trust Fund an amount equal to the estimated savings certified by the Chief Actuary; and (2) make available to the Commissioner of Social Security from funds in the Account an amount certified by the Chief Actuary as currently required to meet expenditures necessary to provide for required continuing disability reviews (including expenditures for the cost of staffing, training, purchase of medical and other evidence, and processing related to appeals and overpayments and related indirect costs).

Includes under required information in a specified annual report a final accounting of amounts transferred to the Continuing Disability Review Administration Revolving Account in the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund during the year, the amount made available from such Account during such year pursuant to certifications made by the Chief Actuary of the SSA and expenditures made by the Commissioner of Social Security for the specified purposes during the year, including a comparison of the number of continuing disability reviews conducted during the year with the estimated number of continuing disability reviews upon which the estimate of such expenditures was made. Terminates the Continuing Disability Review Administration Revolving Account at the end of FY 2002, and provides that any balance in such Account shall revert to funds otherwise available in the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund.

Provides for appointment by the Commissioner of a Chief Actuary in the SSA.

(Sec. 4) Bases entitlement of stepchildren to child's insurance benefits solely on their actual dependency on stepparent support. Repeals the requirement that the stepchild actually be living with the stepparent. Requires termination of any child's insurance benefits based on the wages and self-employment income of the stepparent six months after the Commissioner is formally notified of the natural parent's divorce from the stepparent.

(Sec. 5) Extends the length of time required for recomputation of benefits after normal retirement age.

(Sec. 6) Eliminates the role of the SSA in processing attorney's fees. Prohibits any person, agent, or attorney from charging in excess of $4,000 (or, if the Commissioner approves, a higher fee) for services performed in connection with any claim before the Commissioner. Directs a court, in determining a reasonable fee, to take into consideration the amount of the fee, if any, that an attorney may charge the claimant for services (eliminating the current limitation of such fee to 25 percent of the total past-due benefits to which a judgment entitles the claimant).

(Sec. 7) Provides that an individual shall not be considered to be disabled for OASDI purposes, or for supplemental security income (SSI) purposes under title XVI of the Act (thus denying them benefits), if alcoholism or drug addiction would be a contributing factor material to the determination of disability. (Continues disability benefits based on a separate disabling condition to individuals also disabled by drug addiction or alcoholism.)

Requires the payment of OASDI or SSI benefits based on disability to a representative payee if such payment would serve the interest of an individual who also has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition that prevents the individual from managing such benefits. Requires the Commissioner to refer such individual to the appropriate State agency administering the approved State plan for substance abuse treatment services.

Appropriates additional specified amounts to supplement State and Tribal alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs funded under the Public Health Service Act. Requires State or Tribal governments receiving such an allotment to consider as priorities activities relating to the treatment of the abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

(Sec. 8) Permits members of the clergy to file to revoke their exemption from social security tax coverage under the Internal Revenue Code.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Commissioner to: (1) conduct a pilot study of the efficacy of providing certain individualized information to recipients of monthly OASDI insurance benefits, designed to promote better understanding of their contributions and benefits under the social security system; (2) provide to each of the beneficiaries involved in the study one annualized statement, setting forth specified information; and (3) report to the Congress on the results of such study. States that the study shall involve solely beneficiaries whose benefit entitlement first occurred in or after 1984 and who have remained entitled for a continuous period of at least five years.