Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Social Security Online

Hopefully this will allow casemanagers to help people get benefits before they get out.
The Denver Post

WASHINGTON—The Social Security Administration, envisaging the near-future prospect of 10,000 baby boomers applying for benefits every day, has put together a new online service that will allow people to get their benefits without ever traveling to a Social Security field office.

The agency, in introducing the program Tuesday, said most people will be able to apply for their retirement or disability benefits in 15 minutes or less.

Academy Award-winning actress Patty Duke, spokeswoman for the Retire Online campaign, acknowledged that her own computer skills "are wanting." But her husband gave her a demonstration "and I was able to do it with my limited skills. It was very user-friendly," she said in an interview Monday.

The administration is betting that a great majority of baby boomers, the first to grow old in the computer age, will share that opinion.

"We have nearly 80 million baby boomers coming in," Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue told The Associated Press. "We just don't have the infrastructure to handle that workload in the traditional fashion."

The agency estimates that the baby boom generation will become eligible for retirement at a rate of 10,000 a day for the next 20 years.

The Social Security system already faces a long-term financial crisis as fewer workers finance the retirements of more senior citizens. In 2008, it was paying out some $614 billion to 50 million retirees and their dependents, disabled workers and survivors.

The agency has had versions of online applications since 2000, but in the past applicants have still had to mail or deliver paper documents with their signatures and copies of birth certificates or W-2 forms. In the future, the process should be paperless in the majority of cases.

"We redid it from scratch. It's easier to use, it's faster," Astrue said. He said it now takes about 45 minutes for a field officer to finish an application form for a person who visits a Social Security office.

David Certner, AARP's legislative policy director, said the new program was "a nice tool, particularly as more people are more comfortable with using the computer and the Internet."