Mar 16, 2017

Trump Budget Proposal For Social Security

     The White House has released its "skinny" budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017. The "skinny" reference is to the limited information in the proposal. If this is adopted, Social Security's operating budget would increase by 0.2%. (See page 50). Because of inflation, this would amount to a small decrease in the agency's budget. However, "program integrity" at Social Security would increase by 26.8%. By contrast, this budget proposal calls for major decreases in spending at most agencies, a 16.2% reduction at HHS, for instance.
     This budget proposal faces widespread criticism from Republican as well as Democratic legislators and won't be adopted as proposed. However, it is a sign that to some extent the message is getting across to the White House that these is no way to make even modest cuts in Social Security's operating budget without causing dramatic and very visible problems in the agency's service delivery.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pleasantly surprised to not see any SS cuts. I'll keep holding my breath, though, until I see what the republican controlled congress comes up with.

Anonymous said...

While I believe increasing the program integrity budget further is throwing good money after bad (no pun intended), an overall increase of .02% in comparison to other agencies receiving overall cuts is a bit of a relief.

Anonymous said...

Does the program integrity budget go towards things like CDRs?

Anonymous said...

Yes, program integrity includes CDRs and non-medical redeterminations. As I understand it, those programs generally save more money than they cost to administer.

Anonymous said...

3:55

well yes, they do, in terms of total federal expenditures. But those savings don't do jack to our administrative budget and cessation claims are way more complicated to process. Yay!

Anonymous said...

It is good to increase funding for program integrity. Much of this funding is based upon a very positive ROI. However, as the low hanging fruit is harvested the ROI will begin to decline.

Anonymous said...

Congress still has to do their bit, that's where we have seen the problems the last few years. I will not be holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

SSA will have to do what it has avoided doing for decades and that is deploy more of its resources and people where they are needed most -- direct service delivery.

Despite the attrition in HQ and RO components, they are still overstaffed with employees doing work that could and should be done by lower graded employees.

Also, close PC-7 and distribute the workloads to the respective regions.

That's just a start.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it shows that Trump is going to continue the status quo. The backlog is just the new normal. There is no new commissioner nomination, no new ODAR DC. No new ideas. The administration does not have the will to fundamentally overhaul the system.

Anonymous said...

@5:40

No Colonel Sanders you are wrong

""Despite the attrition in HQ and RO components, they are still overstaffed with employees doing work that could and should be done by lower graded employees."

Mama is always right

Anonymous said...

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-redets-ussi.htm

Anonymous said...

So what does this mean with respect to the furlough rumors I've been hearing? Apparently it's much more realistic than ever. Obviously it's just the President's proposed budget, but I've heard that SSA staff will be facing furloughs if the can is kicked down the road one more time.

Any insight welcome.

-Concerned ODAR employee

Anonymous said...

They may need to up the budget some if they go with this bill:

http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/marco-rubio-joins-conservatives-reform-social-security-disability-benefits

Anonymous said...

9:14: so the proposal is for an automatic cut off without even a CDR determination first? Wow - that would flood SSA with more applications once those people were cut off because very few of them would actually return to work.

Charles: this article would make a good separate blog entry to discuss the pros and cons.

Anonymous said...

Why any concern over furloughs? Every time there has been a furlough there has been full payment. I am also worried that if everyone breathes in at once we will run out of oxygen.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:16

Those weren't planned furloughs like these would be; those were the result of temporary shutdowns, and Congress has always paid employees after for furloughed time in a shut down. An actual, planned furlough is no pay. No reimbursement later.

Ask your friends in DoD who had planned furloughs a few years back during sequestration whether they got that money back ;)

Anonymous said...

11:00 nailed it.

I've been hearing from people in (relatively) high places that *planned* furloughs are on the agenda if the can is kicked. Seems folks are being purposely quiet about it, though.

Anonymous said...

People with CDRs and overpayments need representation though I can only an occasional few. I am impressed with how messed over some of these claimants are. I have been sending most of these claimants to Legal Services, and now I see they are proposed for elimination.

Anonymous said...

@12:33...can't wait. At least if it's planned, I have enough time to buy a plane ticket. I'm always ready for a vacation.

Yes, I work at SSA. No, I am not kidding. I'll gladly take a two-week unpaid break.

Anonymous said...

I'd only get behind closing PC7 if every single person there was pink-slipped. What an embarrassing hole that place is to the agency.

Instead of funding more CDRs, how about hiring some more damned OIG agents. Our entire state has three. We're told to send up every single fraud case we have, but why bother? They take na hour out of your day, but anything under $40k, no matter how slam-dunk the case, gets you a polite "thank you for reporting but no action taken" email.

You want some serious ROI, invest in an anti-fraud unit with teeth.

Anonymous said...

The greatest waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, and Organizational discrimination/hypocrisy exists at the highest levels. As only a few examples, I cite the following; 1) Relocating an entire Hearings Office close to former ROCALJ Garmon's home solely to placate him for being removed from his ROCALJ position for misconduct and wrongdoing pertaining to labor management violations, despite the fact this location is poorly suited for a HO, and inconvenient to everyone but him, not to mention he is working for HQ in Falls Church, and will not routinely be holding hearings in the building thereby depriving an ALJ who is of an office;; 2) Placing Garmon as a top executive with OLMER, despite a long track record of labor management violations, the proverbial fox in the hen house, and millions of dollars in litigation costs he alone has caused SSA (taxpayers) to endure over a period of several years, and noticeably leaving his name off the most recent SSA Organization Chart; 4) The long history these top Agency officials have patted one another on the back, and protected, covered-up, and shielded one another from being held accountable for known wrongdoing; and 5) The cover-up engaged by Colvin and many of these individuals, which prevented Eanes from becoming Deputy SSA Commissioner after he was all but confirmed because as Agency head, Colvin alone had sole decisions authority over whether the Agency would hold known high level wrongdoers accountable in any way.

Each and everyone of these acts constitutes Organizational Discrimination and Hypocrisy, because those at the top who engage in misconduct and wrongdoing are clearly, and undeniably treated differently from those who are not in management, i.e., numerous long term career employees who were denied due process by Garmon, and whose lives and careers were destroyed for no reason, numerous employees who developed disabilities and the horrendous manner the Agency treated them for many years, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. SSA and ODAR Top officials, there is absolutely no justification for this type of Organizational discrimination and hypocrisy - None! Why is Garmon placed on such a pedestal and treated like a Saint, after all the known misconduct and wrongdoing he engaged for many years, while his numerous victims were not even granted due process? Why was Colvin allowed to force Eanes out? I am sure many of you will recall at one point Colvin offered to step down to an SES position if Eanes came on board, but ONLY on the condition she could maintain her authority as top Agency Head. There was clearly only one reason Colvin did this, and that is because as Agency Head, her and her alone, had exclusive authority over whether the likes of Garmon and others would be held accountable by the Agency. The immense costs the Agency continuously endures from this type of Organizational discrimination and Hypocrisy must end now, and known wrongdoers finally held accountable.

Tom Sawyer said...

Corruption, nepotism, racism, hypocrisy and total lack of vetting...are just some of the milder words to describe this incompetent agency. To many of us Asian-American employees here in the Boston area, SSA is a federal agency that is overwhelmingly having a lot of irrelevant components, departments, and tax-wasting job positions, especially at its Headquarters in Baltimore and Regional Offices, like the one at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building here in Boston.

For example: The OCREO Offices, in-house EEOC version, would not assist but instead it has resorted to intimidation of Asian-American employees who filed complaints against the managers in and around the Boston Regional headed by the irresponsible life-time bureaucrats, Commissioner Linda M. Dorn. One of her main henchmen and women, the guy with the name, Neil McLaughlin-the Boston Area Director who has let it be known to be an ardent anti Asian-Americans. A bunch of hypocrites when it comes to racial inequality!!

Meanwhile, Mrs. Dorn's HR Department in downtown would contradictory touting the overused HR term "Diversity" by SSA field offices throughout the region.

Currently, the workplace environment at these local field offices is extremely hostile for less vocal minority ethnic groups of such and ironically, the AFGE Local Union 1164, led by Richard Couture-President, who is looking the other way on many occasions when it comes to its Asian-American rank and file. Very Sad!! It make the questionable terminology of "draining the swamp" becomes more logical and soon to be acceptable by some who otherwise might not !!

Anonymous said...

Fired.

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Anonymous said...

Don't like the furlough get a different job. Solved. First World Problem!

Anonymous said...

@9:24

3:00pm here, or SA-27. I was NOT fired!

There is a huge difference between being fired and illegally forced out the door by a corrupt ROCALJ. Your remark clearly intimates you are an idiot.