Dec 13, 2019
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Trump administration is proposing changes to Social Security that could terminate disability payments to hundreds of thousands of Americans, particularly older people and children.
The new rule would change aspects of disability reviews — the methods by which the Social Security Administration determines whether a person continues to qualify for benefits. Few recipients are aware of the proposal, which is open for public comment through January. ...
The new rule, advocates for low-income Americans say, is just a way to push people off the disability rolls.
“I have serious concerns about this proposed rule,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), adding that it “appears to be yet another attempt by the Trump administration to make it more difficult for people with disabilities to receive benefits.” ...I don't trust the people behind this proposal at all. I'm sure their motivations are bad. They want to cut as many people off benefits as possible. However, they know that cutting a lot of people off benefits would be highly unpopular. Thus, they try to work around the edges. However, there's little they can do without legislative changes that won't happen. I don't think this proposal amounts to much.
Dec 12, 2019
I'm hearing that Social Security Commissioner Saul is considering opening his agency's field offices to the public on Saturdays. Nothing is definite yet. This comes on the heels of a recent decision to keep the field offices open Wednesday afternoons.
I represent claimants before the Social Security Administration. I am extremely concerned about the level of service the agency delivers. If I thought this would help, I'd applaud it. However, I know it's going to have the opposite effect. Field office staff was already stretched almost to the breaking point before the decision to keep the offices open Wednesday afternoons. There is now no time for field office staff to deal with complicated time-consuming tasks because they're on a treadmill dealing with customers who want to be seen. You make the problem worse if you open the field offices on Saturdays. Opening the offices on Saturdays would be great for service if the agency had plenty of staff. With severe staff shortages, it can only hurt service.
It concerns me that many field office employees are eligible to retire. How will they react to being forced to come in on Saturdays to deal with claimants? My guess is that a significant number will decide to retire. Those experienced employees are the very ones who are most productive. A wave of retirements even if immediately replaced with new employees will mean worse service because the new employees won't be as productive and will make many mistakes.
It bothers me that the Commissioner seems to know little about what goes on in the field offices and isn't listening to those who do. Please go out of your office, Mr. Saul, and talk with field office personnel. Let them show you what they do all day.