November 18, 2009

    November 18, 2009 ~ A Policy Research Seminar ~ Presentations now available for download

    A policy research seminar co-sponsored by the Social Security Administration and the National Academy of Social Insurance
    Christine Baker, Executive Director, California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation (CHSWC)
    Robert “Bobby” Silverstein, Principal, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC

    This seminar will promote dialogue and understanding among experts in the nation’s two largest disability income maintenance programs: Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and workers’ compensation (WC).

    • How do changes in WC affect SSDI? What might account for divergent trends in claims and spending for SSDI and WC?
    • By what pathways do injured workers turn to workers’ comp or SSDI? What do new data show about how adequately benefits replace lost wages when workers qualify for both WC and SSDI?
    • What challenges do ill or injured workers face in claiming benefits? What role do claimants’ attorneys serve in helping claimants navigate the systems?
    • What lessons emerge from dramatic reforms in California that reduced WC spending for permanent disability?
    • How can we improve service to beneficiaries who qualify for both WC and SSDI? Will electronic data improve the accuracy and timeliness of benefits? Are there promising ways to simplify the offset of SSDI benefits for WC?
    • What innovations in disability management are successful in helping ill or injured workers keep their jobs and get the accommodations they need? What are the implications of these innovations for Social Security?

    8:30am Continental Breakfast

    9:00am Welcome

    • Janice Gregory, President, National Academy of Social Insurance
    • Christine Baker and Bobby Silverstein, Co-Chairs

    9:15am Priorities in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

    • Martha J. Lambie, Acting Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration

    9:30am Session I. Trends in SSDI and Workers’ Compensation
    Workers’ compensation spending for cash benefit has declined as a share of wages since 1990, while Social Security spending rose. What might explain the divergent trends? What are implications of economic recession and an aging workforce? What are key policy questions for the future?

    • Moderator: Marty Ford, The Arc of the United States</li>
    • John F. Burton, Jr. Workers’ Compensation Data Panel Chair
    • Q and A

    10:05am Session II. Pathways from Workers’ Compensation to Social Security Disability Insurance
    How often do workers’ compensation claimants end up on SSDI? Are injured workers’ wage losses more adequately compensated when SSDI is considered? What challenges to injured workers face in seeking wage replacement from WC or SSDI, or both?

    • Moderator: Ethel Zelenske, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
    • Evidence from New Research Data
      Leslie Boden, Boston University and Paul O’Leary, Office of Program Development and Research, SSA
    • Navigating WC and DI: Views of a Claimants’ Attorney
      Valerie Alston Johnson, Chapel Hill, NC
    • Q and A

    10:55am Break

    11:10am Session III. Offsetting SSDI for Workers’ Comp: Can We Improve Service?

    • Moderator: Richard Balkus, Associate Commissioner for Program Development and Research, SSA
    • Insights on WC and the Offset from Administrative Data, Kevin Kulzer, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, SSA
    • Challenges in Implementing the OffsetValerie Altomare, Office of Disability Programs, SSA
    • Can Electronic Data Improve Service? Gregory Krohm, International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions
    • Q and A

    12:00pm Break

    12:15pm Lunch

    • Patricia Owens, Consultant to the Government Accountability Office
    • Q and A

    1:00pm Break

    1:15pm Session IV. California Experience: Growth and Retrenchment
    Major WC reforms in 2004-2005 reduced California payments to workers with permanent disabilities. How has the change affected workers and employers? What lessons can be drawn from the California experience. Did more people claim SSDI following the WC cutbacks? Does workers’ compensation adequately serve severely injured workers?

    • Moderator: Paul Van de Water, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
    • Christine Baker, CHSWC
    • Sean McNally, Grimmway Farms
    • Tom Rankin, California Alliance for Retired Americans
    • Q and A

    2:10pm Session V. Innovations in Return to Work

    • Moderator: Bryon MacDonald, World Institute on Disability
    • Return to Work in the California WC System
      Seth Seabury, RAND
    • Insights from a National Survey,
      Robert Weathers, Office of Program Development and Research, SSA
    • WC Manager’s View,
      Terrence Bogyo, WC Board of British Columbia
    • Q and A

    3:05pm Concluding Observations

    • Bobby Silverstein, Co-Chair

    3:30pm Adjourn