Capitol Insider



Major Events Last Week

Social Security – Social Security Administration Announces No Cost-of-Living
Increases for 2016

Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that there will be no
cost-of-living increase for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
in 2016. The Social Security Act provides for annual increases in Old-Age and Survivors
Insurance (OASI), Disability Insurance (DI), and SSI benefits based on inflation as
measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers
(CPI-W). Because the CPI-W decreased over the last year, there will be no increase in
Social Security or SSI benefits in 2016. However, as noted in a statement by The Arc’s
Senior Executive Officer for Public Policy, Marty Ford, many beneficiaries will still face
increases in costs such as out-of-pocket medical expenses and housing. SSA also
announced that two important thresholds for Social Security and SSI beneficiaries with
disabilities will increase in 2016: the Substantial Gainful Activity level for non-blind
individuals will increase from $1,090 per month in 2015 to $1,130 per month in 2016,
and the Trial Work Level will increase from $780 per month in 2015 to $810 per month
in 2016. The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet announced
Medicare premium changes for 2016. Because there is the “hold harmless” provision in
Medicare Part B, premiums for about 70 percent of beneficiaries will not increase for
OASI or DI beneficiaries. Medicare Part B beneficiaries who are not held harmless
(generally higher income beneficiaries and those newly enrolled) may face premium
increases of up to 52 percent.

Tax Policy/ABLE Act – Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service Hold
Hearing on Qualified ABLE Programs Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Last week, the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) held a
public hearing on the proposed rules for implementation of the Stephen Beck, Jr.,
Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. Speakers included Marty Ford
of The Arc, representatives of other major disability advocacy organizations, and
representatives of state treasurer’s offices and college savings plan administrators.
Speakers fielded questions from representatives of the Treasury Department and IRS.
Most speakers stressed the need for a streamlined enrollment process and
administrative simplicity. The Department of Treasury and the IRS will now consider all
written and oral comments and issue final regulations in the coming months.


The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Fellowship Program Accepting
Applications – Deadline Looming

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is seeking applicants for its Public Policy
Fellowship.  Applicants should be exemplary professionals, people with disabilities, or
family members of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. The
fellowship prepares mid-career or more seasoned leaders to assume leadership in the
disability public policy arena at the state or national level. Fellows spend one year in
Washington, D.C. in the office of a Member of Congress, Congressional Committee,
or federal agency. Learn more and apply for the fellowship here. Applications are due
October 31, 2015.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)