My understanding is that the Bipartisan Budget Agreement recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the President will allow total domestic discretionary spending, which includes Social Security's administrative budget, that will be almost identical to the total provided for by the President's proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, which began on October 1, 2015.
The Bipartisan Budget Agreement just sets the total amount for all domestic agencies. The amount each agency gets must be determined by individual appropriations acts. Those are still to come. Social Security and other agencies are currently operating on a continuing funding resolution which runs for about another month.
The President's budget proposal can only be a rough guide for what to expect when an appropriation is finally passed but Social Security's administrative budget isn't a contentious matter so the President's budget may not be too far off what is to come. The President's proposal was for about a 5% increase in Social Security's operating budget, taking it to $12.8 billion. This contrasts with $11.8 billion in the House appropriations bill and $11.6 billion in the Senate appropriations bill that were under consideration prior to the Bipartisan Budget Agreement.
My hope is that the Social Security Administration will use as much of the extra money as possible to hire new employees. I know that it takes time to hire and train new employees. Every time the agency hires new people I wince because I know they're going to make mistakes which will take time to correct. Using overtime would reduce, or perhaps I should say, stabilize backlogs more quickly. However, the agency needs more employees for the long haul. We keep going through a boom and bust cycle every year. Part of the year there's little or no overtime. Backlogs go up. Part of the year there's money for overtime and backlogs go down or at least hold steady. On the whole, backlogs keep rising. This can't keep going on. I know that agency management worries about having to furlough new employees but how likely is that? Appropriators seem to try hard to avoid furloughs. Really, which politician wants to be responsible for furloughs at Social Security? The agency would function so much better with several thousand more employees.