The Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing yesterday on Protecting Social Security From Waste, Fraud and Abuse. The only witness was Patrick O'Carroll, who will soon be leaving his position as Inspector General at Social Security. I don't see anything particularly new in his prepared remarks.
The ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, Xavier Becerra, entered an interesting statement in the record. Here is an excerpt:
Congress’ current trend of prioritizing program integrity activities at the expense of service to applicants, beneficiaries, and taxpayers is unsustainable.
Social Security’s budget should not be treated as a zero-sum game. We should not be robbing Peter to pay Paul.
In my six years as Ranking Member of this Subcommittee, not once have we held a hearing on SSA’s operating budget.
There is no question that funding for program integrity is absolutely integral to ensuring that Americans receive benefits in the right amount, and that only those who are eligible receive payments.
But it is equally important to ensure that: SSA has the tools and resources needed to provide quick and timely service to the millions of Americans receiving Social Security, and to the millions more who will – in the coming years – be applying and qualifying for the benefits they and their families have earned.
Below are some charts from the statement illustrating the problems at Social Security.
By the way, Becerra's name gets mentioned from time to time as a potential Vice-Presidential candidate.