The LII
Learning about ... Social Security
     led by Peter W. Martin

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course syllabus and schedule

(2008)

Introduction: The Field; The Course Components, Methods, and Procedures; and The Law Begin by Monday, 1/07
Discussion starts Wednesday, 1/09
Topic 1: Overview of the Program -- Who receives benefits, under what circumstances. Relationship between payments in and benefits received. Key legal issues and the program's procedures for their resolution.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]
Begin by Friday, 1/11
Topic submission due Wednesday, 1/16
Topic 2: Program History -- Important stages in the program's evolution and the economic forces and politics that shaped them.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]
Begin by Friday, 1/18
Topic submission due Wednesday, 1/23
Topic 3: Retirement and Disability Benefits -- Coverage and benefit calculation, the individual connection between payment of tax and receipt of benefits.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]
Begin by Friday, 1/25
Topic submission due Wednesday, 1/30
Topic 4: Derivative Benefits for Spouses -- Benefits for spouses, former spouses, and surviving spouses.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]

Begin by Friday, 2/01
Topic submission due Wednesday, 2/06
Mastery Exercise #1 | Feedback Message
Covering Topics 1-4
Due by 11:55 p.m. Sunday, 2/10
Topic 5:

Derivative Benefits for Children -- Benefits for children in varying types of relationship with the "wage earner": including children born within and outside of marriage, adopted children, stepchildren, grandchildren.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]

Begin by Friday, 2/08
Topic submission due Wednesday, 2/13
Topic 6: Continuing Earnings, Age, and Benefits -- How the program's "retirement test" reduces benefits in relation to continuing earnings and "retirement age" affects benefit amount.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]

Begin by Friday, 2/15
Topic submission due Wednesday, 2/20
 
Mastery Exercise #2 | Feedback Message
Covering Topics 5-6
Due by 11:55 p.m. Sunday, 2/24
[Dealing with the term break] The winter or spring breaks of the several participating institutions fall at different times extending over a five week period. You should adjust the schedule for the next four topics (7 through 10) to fit your own school's break schedule. For example, if your school is not in session during the week of 03/10 you need not begin Topic 10 until the following week. No matter when your break falls you should arrange to complete Mastery Exercises #2 and #3 on schedule. By Monday 03/24 we should all be back in synch.  
Topic 7:  Disability Benefits -- The standard.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction] 
Begin by Friday, 2/22
Topic submission due Wednesday, 2/27
Topic 8: Disability Benefits -- The administrative process.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]
Begin by Friday, 2/29
Topic submission due Wednesday, 3/05
Topic 9:  Disability Benefits -- Areas of particular difficulty.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]
Begin by Friday, 3/07
Topic submission due Wednesday, 3/12
Topic 10: Judicial Review -- How one secures judicial review of an individual determination, on the one hand, and of a regulation or administrative practice affecting many, on the other.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]

Begin by Friday, 3/14
Topic submission due Wednesday, 3/19
Mastery Exercise #3 | Feedback Message
Covering Topics 7-9
Due by 11:55 p.m. Sunday, 3/23
[revised]
Topic 11: Lawyers and Social Security -- Social security representation: Who does it and on what terms and conditions.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]

Begin by Friday, 3/28
Topic submission due Wednesday, 4/02
 
Mastery Exercise #4 | Feedback Message
Covering Topics 10-11
Due by 11:55 p.m. Sunday, 4/06
Topic 12: 

The Relationship Between Social Security and Other Earnings Replacements -- How Supplemental Security Income, Workers Compensation, Private Pensions, and Medicare interact with Social Security and vice versa.
   [Assigned Readings | Course of Instruction]

Begin by Friday, 4/04
Topic submission due Wednesday, 4/09
Topic 13:

Reform– Reviewing and evaluating current proposals for Social Security "reform".
   [Background Readings | Background Reflections

   |Your tentative position on resolving Social Security's fiscal problem]

Begin by Friday, 4/11
Topic submission due Wednesday, 4/16

Exam: Exam under the administration, schedule, and ground rules of each participating school -- may at the school's election be a "take home" exam. In all cases, the exam will be open-book and open-computer, with three hours for reading, reflecting, and writing.

Questionnaire: Before the term is done, please complete this brief questionnaire in addition to any administered by your school. This one contains specific questions about the non-traditional features of the course. Your responses will be an important component of the report I owe each of the participating schools and the American Bar Association. They will also guide future course revision and inform advice to those contemplating taking it.

 

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