Aug 16, 2017

Why Can't Social Security Get Adequate Administrative Funding?

     Max Richtman of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare wonders why the Sorcial Security Administration can't get an adequate operating budget. He thinks it might have something to do with the fact that Republicans still can't reconcile themselves to the very existence of Social Security.


Anonymous said...

A better effort should be made to pin the blame for backlog and decreased customer service on them, which is where it justifiably belongs.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if SSA would cut down on politically correct mandatory training, extensive and expensive so called executive travel--especially at the end of the FY, non working union reps, etc. the money received would go a lot farther.

Anonymous said...

We must spend more money on fraud investigations! And then we get to spend more money changing everything from 0DAR to OHO.

Anonymous said...

7:52... Apparently there weren't any backlogs during President Obama's 2 terms?

Anonymous said...

Trump wanted agency restructuring that's why you have OHO.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:23

What you and everyone else that spits out that ridiculous line of argument don't seem to appreciate is the millions we spend on all that stuff combined represents nothing in terms of employees.

Say an employee's salary is $50,000. The actual budgeted cost per year for that employee is much, much higher than that.

So, assume you get rid of all executive travel, all trainings you deem worthless and PC-only, etc. and save $5 million dollars. That would allow for hiring less than 100 more employees.

When SSA is literally tens of thousands of employees lighter than it was in the 1990s (with more work to do and no magical technological advances making us work 25% faster or anything like that), those 100 extra employees aren't even a fraction of a drop in the bucket. Meanwhile, gutting travel, etc. makes those areas completely dead.

SSA's budget isn't short like 2% or 3% or even 5%, low enough that the types of tweaks you're talking about could have a significant impact. It's 10, 20% short.

Go read that article Charles just posted. If we were a private company, what would be called our operating budget compared to our revenues is less than 3%. Find me any private company doing big work like SSA does that has an operating budget remotely close to 3% of its revenues. I'll wait.

For all the hype of wasteful government spending, etc., if the gov't were to bid out to the private sector all our duties (and made them provide the same level of service, process, etc.) you wouldn't have any takers for less than 150% of our current operating budget.

AKM said...

My comment is that I strongly feel that the COLA/ CPI formula should be changed but not the way the government is considering. It needs to be fairer; currently it does not adequately reflect the cost of living incurred by most. Bottom line , it is too conservative and when I see politicians using the phrase generous when they state it need to be “less generous” I simply cannot believe the insensitivity, but what do expect from so-called civil servants who make around 189K/ year.

For example the only parking availability where I have many doctors’ appointments each month cost $10 a few short years ago. It had gone up twice and is now $13. That represents a 30% increase in just one of my expenses. Rents seem to be going up greatly and have increased over 100% since the year 2000. In the last seventeen years we did not see 100% worth of increases, now did we?

The above two examples are accurate and I could prove them if need be. There are many more, but there is something EVEN MORE PRESSING coming our way…In five short years SSDI is scheduled to be reduced by 21%. This would have happened 2 years ago if SSDI did not borrow from the Retirement fund. I believe that the deal was that this money had to be paid back and would only allow for 100% of benefits for the next 7 years, of which only five are left. What then?

Any comments addressing the impending SSDI benefit cut would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

It's very clear theatre the purpose of underfunding to to increase backlog and wait times to discourage people and abandoning their application or not applying at all. They see it as a win win situation.

Arizona Jim said...

How well did the agency fare under Democrat control of both houses?

Anonymous said...

@4:30 is correct. Republicans do not wish to fund SSA because they would like nothing more than work toward eliminating it, and Medicare, altogether. They have hated SSA from the very beginning. This is why Republicans want to create the illusion SSA is in dire straights financially.

The SSA Trust Fund could be very simply and easily corrected by completely removing the wage cap. Republicans refuse to do this because they view it as a tax increase, plus it would solve all the problems, and keep SSA alive and well, as the vast majority of Americans want.

The same concept applies to SSDI, i.e., by refusing to adequately fund the disability components of SSA, the Republicans relish in the thought it takes a claimant 2+ years to obtain a hearing decision. They relish this because it does 2 things: 1) It further adds to the illusion that all of SSA is about to go under and is not financially sustainable, and 2) They sincerely hope the tremendous delay will either discourage filing for SSDI, or force financially strapped claimants to find some sort of a job and drop their case, or that their work activity will be used to deny SSDI after a hearing, e.g., it may be SGA, or it reflects on their ability to work.

The really sad thing is the multitude of people who repeatedly vote Republican, but either they, or someone in their family, is dependent on some form of SSA benefits. Why do these people continually vote against their own economic interests? How many of you claimant disability Attorneys sat in the reception area of a Hearings Office, or conversed with claimants in your law office, and learned they are ardent supporters of Trump, and/or Republicans, in general? I suspect this happens quite frequently. It's very unfortunate these claimants are so clueless. What, if anything, do you say to them?

Anonymous said...

With telework we have no need for 50% of the office space we occupy. Hallways are dark and yet we pay to heat and cool millions of unnecessary sq ft of real estate every year. Why not be responsible and ask GSA to evaluate space needs beginning immediately?

Anonymous said...

"The really sad thing is the multitude of people who repeatedly vote Republican, but either they, or someone in their family, is dependent on some form of SSA benefits. Why do these people continually vote against their own economic interests?"

Because, silly, there are things that are far, far more important than mere "economic interests" in the political/religious sphere.

For many long years, the New Deal has hung like a millstone around the neck of freedom-loving Americans. FDR committed a vile crime against the very capitalism that made this country great!

The Administrative State (TM) has grown like alien monstrosity that has choked out the sovereignty of the people.

Pro-Republican/Trump/Libertarian SSDI/SSI recipients understand that they must sacrifice themselves to undo the evil of the New Deal that has spread, unchecked, like a cancerous plague on the body politic. They are willing to do what needs to be done to destroy transfer payment system before the spreading economic dependency means that there is nothing left of the American Spirit but a memory.

Hope this helps. It's the best that I could come up with on short notice.

Anonymous said...



Either way, most agree these voters are uninformed, misguided, unduly sucked in and mesmerized by fake news right wing media TV and talk radio shows, and lack the intellectual and mental capacity to differentiate between truth and fiction, or understand how the manner in which they vote substantially affects their lives.

Anonymous said...

From @ 10:23 to @4:01--your math is probably not far off but 100 employees per year times X years = many fully staffed FOs!

Anonymous said...

@ 11:23

you only get those savings once because those 100 employees cost you that extra $5 mil you save EACH YEAR, not just when you first hire them.

Also, you really don't get the scale of this problem. Just the FOs and DOs in my State (granted, large Southern states have more offices and employees than the average State, but still) are down probably 100 employees or more. So gutting a few programs you don't find important would let one component of SSA in one State shore up their deficiencies.

We cannot get there by trimming fat. We need a much, much bigger budget so we can hire the thousands of additional employees we need to effectively carry out our public service mission.

The teleworking angle and saving space is interesting, but until SSA can or does FORCE people to telework, you can't dramatically cut office space. Folks have the right to, you know, actually show up where they work and SSA has to have space for them all. Plus, operations, our biggest component by far, has almost zero telework right now and likely won't have much for a long time due to their constant in-person public contact and rigid scheduling, coverage, etc. rules.

But all that aside, I have been asking around for a while now wondering why we haven't more aggressively cut down on space since AFGE and NTEU contracts both provide for hoteling now (if office sharers can't work out a scheme amongst themselves) and so many writers and others are above the threshold of telework days at which they lose the right to a personal office. I have no idea why we aren't putting more offices in significantly, though not dramatically, smaller spaces in recent years when their leases have come due.

Anonymous said...

FDR'S New Deal that created a middle class in America you mean? The further away we move from it the more wealth concentrates at the very top and high finance dominates our economy in a very dangerous way. Wait until deregulated wall Streets bring the next crash. it will be huuuggeee!

Anonymous said...

10:16 here:

"FDR'S New Deal that created a middle class in America you mean? The further away we move from it the more wealth concentrates at the very top and high finance dominates our economy in a very dangerous way. Wait until deregulated wall Streets bring the next crash. it will be huuuggeee!"

Yes, but look at all of the wealth that is being generated by the "awesome and righteous ones" with their great victories that have already been won against the "lesser ones" and the "job consumers"!:

Once the Grand Fox News Alliance finally undoes the New Deal shackles that restrain the...restrained ones?...we will finally arrive at...Financial Utopia World?

Anonymous said...

@9:47 & 10:16

Again, poppycock!

Your comment @9:47 makes no sense.