Jun 12, 2014

First Step Towards A Senate Appropriations Bill

     A Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee has reported out an appropriations bill covering the Social Security Administration. Here's an excerpt from the Subcommittee summary:
Preventing Improper Social Security PaymentsThe Committee recommendation includes $1,396,000,000 for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to conduct continuing disability reviews and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) redeterminations of non-medical eligibility, a $199,000,000 increase over the FY 2014 level. These periodic reviews ensure that individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits are still eligible to receive them. ...
Social Security Administration (SSA)—The Committee recommendation includes $11,921,040,000, a $224,000,000 increase, for SSA's administrative expenses. In FY 2015, SSA will administer approximately $950 billion in benefit payments to approximately 66 million Americans, SSA will process approximately 5.3 million retirement applications and 2.8 million disability applications, and SSA will provide services for over 40 million visitors to its field offices and 47 million callers to its 1-800 number. This increase in funding will help SSA keep pace with rising costs and improve basic services to the public that millions of Americans rely on every day.
     How does an 1.9% increase keep pace with rising costs much less improve service? Does the $199 million increase for preventing improper payments come out of the $224 million increase for Social Security generally? If so, there's no increase for general operations. Inflation is at a low level but it's not non-existent.
     And remember, this is the Senate with a Democratic majority. The House Appropriations bill, IF the House can produce one, will be much worse.

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