Jun 4, 2014

SSA Needs Adequate Operating Funds To Prevent Improper Payments

     From Dean Baker writing for Huffington Post:
The media have been rightly focusing their attention on the long waiting lists for veterans seeking medical care, and even worse, the Department of Veteran's Affairs cover-up. ...
Unfortunately the VA system is not the only part of the government where essential services may be threatened by cutbacks. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently disclosed plans for a major downsizing that will result in the closing of many more of its field offices. The goal is to handle the bulk of Social Security's requests, questions, and complaints through the Internet....
Last year, the Washington Post ran a major front-page article over the fact that 0.006 percent of Social Security benefits in the prior three years had been paid out to dead people. Of course the Post never told readers that the amount in question amounted to less than one hundredth of one percent of benefit payments. Instead it highlighted the size of the mistaken benefits, $133 million, as though it had uncovered a momentous sum that the program was paying out in error. 
There is no reason to expect the opponents of Social Security to be any more honest in the future. Every mistake that the program makes will be highlighted. For this reason, it is not only essential that we minimize the instances where people don't get the benefits to which they are entitled; we should also be concerned that the SSA has the capacity to keep a lid on improper payments.
SSA is already tremendously efficient compared to its private sector counterparts. Administrative costs for the system as whole are just 0.9 percent of benefits. The administrative costs for just the retirement and survivors' portion of the program are 0.5 percent of benefits. Privatized systems in places like the United Kingdom or Chile have costs that are twenty times as high.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dean Baker is good. He has a blog in which he comments on economic stories in the media: