Apr 30, 2023

A New Argument For Using General Revenues To Augment The Trust Funds

     From the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

... The fact that in 2033 Social Security would be able to pay only 77 percent of scheduled benefits should focus our collective minds.  ... [I]f the cost of currently scheduled benefits simply exceeds what today’s workers are paying into the system, the traditional proposals to reduce benefits or raise payroll taxes would be most relevant.  

However, the cause of the shortfall lies elsewhere.  Specifically, the program’s “pay-as-you-go” financing – with the exception of the recent build-up and spend-down of the current modest trust fund – makes the program look expensive.  This financing approach is the result of a policy decision in the late 1930s to pay benefits far in excess of contributions for the early cohorts of workers.  The decision essentially gave away the trust fund that would have accumulated and, importantly, gave away the interest on those contributions.  The “Missing Trust Fund” provides a strong justification for an infusion of general revenues into the program.  ...

Apr 29, 2023

No Statute Of Limitations On Recoupment Of Social Security Overpayments Is Crazy

     From Laurance Kotlikoff writing for Forbes :

... Roy Farmer of Grand Rapids Michigan has Cerebral Palsy. He’s 32. In 2019, out of the blue, he received a clawback letter from Social Security demanding he repay $4902 that his mother received back when he was 11. Roy has spent what is now over three years appealing this judgement. He’s been denied twice? Why? Because they need/want/can’t wait to clawback someone and his mother is deceased. ...

     The ironic part to me, at least, is that the overpayment would have been automatically waived if waiver had been requested when Farmer was a child. Almost certainly, he had no resources of his own then and children are presumed to be without fault.

Apr 28, 2023

Over 1 Million Waiting

     The Deseret News in Utah reports that over one million people are waiting for Social Security to act on their disability claims. 

    They include state rankings showing the percentage change from 2019 to 2022. Here are the top ten worst states:

  1. Florida = 156%.
  2. South Carolina = 147%.
  3. Texas = 142%.
  4. North Dakota = 132%.
  5. Wisconsin = 130%.
  6. Kansas = 128%.
  7. Arizona = 120%.
  8. New Hampshire = 114%.
  9. Mississippi = 111%.
  10. Georgia = 98%

    Now here are the top ten best states. Note the actual improvement in six of them:

  1. Connecticut = 7%.
  2. Minnesota = 5%.
  3. Washington, D.C. = 2%.
  4. Missouri = <1%.
  5. Nevada = <-1%.
  6. South Dakota = -4%.
  7. Rhode Island = -11%.
  8. Oklahoma = -11%.
  9. Washington = -11%.
  10. Vermont = -21%.
  11. Alaska = -51%.

Apr 27, 2023

Social Security Subcommittee Hearing

     The House Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing yesterday on Social Security Fundamentals: A Fact-Based Foundation. From the written testimony, it appears that the hearing was definitely at the fundamental level, as befits a Subcommittee now under the control of Republicans who generally don't like to get down in the weeds of Social Security issues. They just know that Social Security is "doomed." They've been saying that since 1935 when the Social Security Act was passed. Alas, the voters keep expressing a strong preference that Social Security stay in business.

Apr 26, 2023

Every Bad Idea For Social Security That The GOP Has Ever Had, In One Document

    Republicans in the House of Representatives have put forth their plan for what that they hope to extort from the President by threatening to put the U.S. government into default on its debts. Here's what their plan would do to Social Security retirement benefits (begins at page 80):

  • Implement a new minimum benefit of 15% of the average wage index;
  • "Modernize" the Social Security benefit formula, which is a euphemism for reducing future benefits for those now 54 and younger;
  • Increase Full Retirement Age to 70 between now and 2040;
  • Eliminate the retirement earnings test for those who are under Full Retirement Age;
  • Eliminate auxiliary benefits for high wage earners.

    The plan also includes changes in disability benefits (begins at page 74):

  • Enact a benefits offset experiment that would reduce disability benefits by $1 for every $2 earned (they must not know that this experiment is underway already);
  • Allow FICA reductions for employers with high rates of employee retention, which is supposed to help handicapped people stay employed (which would disadvantage manufacturers);
  • Require employment in six of the last ten years, instead of five;
  • Time limited disability benefits for some recipients; 
  • "Update" the grid regulations;
  • Make disability benefits contingent on medical improvement (I don't think they meant to say that but that's what they said);
  • Prevent those drawing unemployment benefits from drawing disability benefits;
  • Eliminate withholding of attorney fees for representing claimants (at least I think that's what they're saying but they only thing clear about it is that they bear a lot of ill will towards attorneys);
  • Close the record "after a reasonable period of time";
  • Require Social Security to conduct periodic reviews of ALJ decisions, particularly those of "outlier" judges;
  • Prohibit reapplications within 12 months of a denial;
  • Increase the waiting period for Medicare from 24 months to 60 months;
  • Eliminate the ability to apply for both early retirement and disability benefits at the same time;
  • Allow employers and employees a reduced FICA rate if the employer provides long term disability benefits.

Apr 25, 2023

I’m Torn; Was There Any Point In Sending This?

      An e-mail to Social Security employees:

From: ^Human Resources
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2023 8:10 AM
Subject: 2022 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government


A Message to All SSA Employees

Subject:  2022 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government


The Partnership for Public Service recently released its 2022 Best Places to Work (BPTW) in the Federal Government Rankings, which is based on results from the 2022 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).  SSA now ranks 17 amongst 17 large federal agencies.  Our 2022 BPTW and FEVS results reflect your experiences from last summer – one of our most challenging periods in recent years.  Over the past year, we used that feedback to make workplace improvements to support you in providing trusted service to our customers.

While faced with our lowest staffing levels in more than 25 years, resuming in-person service amidst the ongoing pandemic, and juggling increasing workloads, you worked tirelessly to serve the public.  Because of your commitment to service, the public rated us as the 2nd most trusted agency in the federal government, second only to the National Park Service.  You are the reason for that rating – your service to the public makes a difference.

Your commitment to public service is unwavering, but changes are needed.  For over a decade, we received insufficient and inconsistent funding to administer our programs.  This led to hiring freezes and staff losses, resulting in workload and workplace challenges that directly impact your experiences.  Thankfully this fiscal year, we received a higher funding level, which allows us to start rebuilding our workforce.  Hiring is a priority; and so far, we have onboarded over 3,200 new team members across the agency.  Also, our latest data shows attrition rates are starting to slow down.

Senior leaders value the feedback you provide.  We reviewed last year’s FEVS results, as well as surveys of new hires and those leaving our agency.  Based on that input, we instituted several workplace improvements to accompany our hiring strategy.  For example, you told us transparency is important, so we increased our communications to keep you informed of our priorities and challenges.  We learned how we can better support your work-life balance and help you navigate the hybrid work environment through workplace flexibilities and wellness resources.  We are also improving access to career and professional development offerings to help you take charge of your career.

We know these changes are just a start.  Sufficient funding for future years will allow us to maintain the progress we’ve made, and we will continue to advocate for the support we need.  Additionally, your continued feedback is always welcomed.  The next FEVS – scheduled to occur later this spring – presents another opportunity for you to weigh in on future workplace improvements.

Thank you for your resilience and dedication to the public and our agency!  The public’s high level of trust in our agency is a direct reflection of the service that you provide.  As we pursue our mission, we will strive to make the agency a truly great place to work.

Apr 24, 2023

Seems Almost Quaint

     For most of the history of Social Security, all monthly payments of benefits came out on the third of each month. That changed in 1997 so that the Title II payments come out on three dates each month. The date you receive your payment depends upon the day of the month upon which you were born. 

    The Social Security Administration's statement at the time this change was made gives an insight into the level of service that was then prevalent at the agency. This is from a notice published by Social Security in the Federal Register on February 11, 1997 (emphasis added):

SSA’s current practice of paying 47 million beneficiaries within the first 3 days of each month results in a large surge of work during the first week of each month. This surge includes a large number of visitors to field offices and calls to our toll-free 800 number to report nonreceipt of a check, question the amount paid, or ask about other payment-related issues. Approximately 9 percent of all calls during check week concern nonreceipt, compared to 3 percent during the rest of the month. As an example of the surge that occurs around the current payment days, on April 3, 1995, 1,091,282 calls were placed to SSA’s 800 number. On April 14, 1995, the number of calls placed to our 800 number decreased to 229,022. It is important to beneficiaries and customers to be able to reach SSA with fewer busy signals, and we have pledged to enable callers to get through to the 800 number within 5 minutes of their original attempt. However, in fiscal year (FY) 1994, during peak periods, customers encountered busy signals on SSA’s 800 number 40–63 percent of the time and had to wait more than 5 minutes to get through about 30 percent of the time. ...
 Our goal is for our customers to have minimal waits for service when visiting a Social Security field office. Today, SSA does not always meet this goal. In FY 1994 there were 24 million visitors to our field offices. While the average wait during check week for individuals with an appointment was 8 minutes, some individuals with appointments had to wait over 2 hours. Thirty-two percent of the visitors to our offices without appointments in FY 1994 (typically people who have questions related to their payments or who want to report payment delivery problems) had to wait more than 30 minutes after arriving to be served. The average wait during check week for individuals without appointments was 16 minutes, although some individuals without appointments had to wait over 3 hours. ...

    The agency already felt it was under customer service stress way back in 1997 but the level of stress was vastly less than it is now. Adequate service has been defined downward dramatically since then.

Apr 22, 2023

IRS Telephone Wait Time 4 Minutes

     Last year, the average wait time when you called the Internal Revenue Service was 27 minutes. This year it's 4 minutes. How did the IRS do it? They got a big infusion of money because Congress finally realized that service at the IRS was completely unacceptable. 

    Social Security's telephone wait time is something like four times as long as for the IRS. How is that acceptable? When do things reach such an extreme state that Social Security gets an infusion of money?

Apr 21, 2023

OPM Memo On Telework

     From Government Executive:

The Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday announced that it will end the use of maximum telework as part of the federal government’s operating status next month, following President Biden’s planned expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The public health emergency is set to expire on May 11. In a memo to agency heads Tuesday, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja announced that as a result, the federal government’s HR agency will no longer recommend that agencies remain “open with maximum telework flexibilities” as part of a governmentwide operating status. ...

Ahuja stressed that although OPM’s recommendation for maximum telework was ending, agencies should still balance the Office of Management and Budget’s call for “substantially increased meaningful in-person work at federal agencies” with the benefits associated with continued use of workplace flexibilities, including increased productivity, employee engagement and recruitment and retention of workers.

 “OMB’s memorandum informed agencies of an expectation to increase meaningful in-person work while still using flexible operational policies,” she wrote. “Agencies should continue to strategically use telework and remote work policies in support of their workforce plans moving forward while capitalizing on the benefits of meaningful in-person work.” ...

[T]he memo did not assuage the concerns of House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., who compared the memo to a decades-long policy on LGBTQ+ Americans serving in the military. ...

    Cut the endless comments on the merits of telework. Don't you guys get tired?

Apr 20, 2023

Only 47% Of Disabled People Between Age 50 And Age 64 Draw Social Security Disability Benefits

     From a television station in New York:

A researcher estimates that over 1 million Americans with disabilities aren't getting the benefits they may need.

Zachary Morris, an assistant professor at the Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare, wanted to look at how well a couple of big Social Security programs are working for people.

Morris analyzed data on people between 50 and 64, shy of retirement age, who have work-limiting disabilities.

He found just 47% of these folks, Americans who are theoretically eligible for benefits, get Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income or both. ...

Apr 19, 2023

Rolls Royce Service For OIG; Little Service For The Public

     Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) operates its own hotline for the public to use in reporting waste or fraud. Think about that. Why does OIG have its own separate hotline? Why not use Social Security's regular 800 number? The teleservice center employees are certainly capable of taking down basic information and forwarding it to OIG. I think we know the reason. The crappy service on the general 800 number would be unacceptable for OIG.

    At the moment, OIG is advertising the availability of a contract for handling its hotline. Here's one of the criteria that OIG expects a contractor to meet: "At a minimum, the contractor’s systems must handle all incoming calls, and the contractor must achieve at least an average 95% answer rate for all calls offered and a maximum average wait time of one (1) minute after call offer." The OIG contractor has to be able to "handle all incoming calls"? The agency's general 800 number certainly can't do that. A 95% answer rate? Not imaginable for the general 800 number. A maximum average wait time of one minute? Are you kidding me? It's more like 15-20 minutes for the general 800 number. 

    Why are we funding excellent call center services for OIG but those needing to file a claim or to talk with someone about their pending case get horrific service? I'm all in favor of getting fraud reports from the public but I'm also in favor of the public getting decent service from the Social Security Administration.

Apr 18, 2023

Get Your Act Together

     Just yesterday I wrote about Social Security's noncompliance with the CARES Act, which requires the agency to accept electronic consents from digitally identity proofed and authenticated record holders to disclose Privacy Act protected records to third parties. The same day Social Security released a new Emergency Message saying that it now has a fully electronic means to give consent for release of records. The problem is that the link in the EM takes one to a webpage saying the agency is committed to protecting privacy and little else. There's supposed to be a tab for "Electronic Request for Consent to Disclose" but there's no such tab. The closest thing is a tab for "Submit A Privacy Act" request but that takes you only to a webpage giving links to the agency's privacy regulations.

    Shouldn't someone have checked to make sure the electronic request form was actually available online before posting the EM?

Apr 17, 2023

Social Security's Noncompliance With The CASES Act

     I'm not sure that I heard of the CASES (Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents) Act until I saw a recent report by the Congressional Research Service. CASES requires federal agencies to "accept electronic identity proofing and authentication processes for individuals to consent to gaining personal access to, or the disclosure of, an individual’s records in possession of a federal agency to another party" and to "create templates for electronic consent and access forms and require posting of the templates on agency websites" and to "accept the electronic consent and access forms."

    Apparently, a major impetus for this legislation is the problems that Congressional offices themselves have in providing constitutent services. They want to be able to access agency records directly. However, the language isn't limited to Congressional offices. Social Security claimants should be able to access their own records as well as their attorneys. 

    Social Security seems to be wildly out of compliance with CASES and making little, if any, progress to compliance. Yes, claimants can establish electronic access to something that Social Security calls their file but that access is extremely limited. For instance, claimants can find out that an Administrative Law Judge has made a decision in their case but they cannot access the decision. They can find out that their disability claim is pending at the initial level but they cannot see what is going on other than a totally meaningless percentage that purports to show how far along their case is. Telling a claimant that their case is 55% of the way to a decision is giving them meaningless and misleading information. It doesn’t work like that. Claimants can't access the medical records in their case. Yes, attorneys can get better access to their clients' files but the attorney electronic consent and access form has so many problems that it's seldom used. If the e-1696 is submitted, the agency still contacts the claimant by telephone to make sure they really did appoint an attorney and they must still laboriously enter the information in Social Security's data systems, processes that can literally take months. Even after that, attorneys still don't get much access to their clients' files other than at the hearing and Appeals Council levels. We certainly cannot access information on what is going on at the black holes called payment centers.

Apr 16, 2023

Where Are The Missing Children?

      From The Hill:

Recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began publishing statistics on beneficiaries by race. There are approximately 260,000 Black children receiving survivor benefits from Social Security. With nearly 1 million orphaned Black children in the country, a natural question policymakers should ask is “Where are the missing beneficiaries?”

Black children may miss out on survivor benefits because of eligibility requirements, such as the parent not having sufficient work in Social Security-covered employment. Policymakers should acknowledge the reality on the ground and ask whether those eligibility requirements need to be updated.

Black children also miss out on survivor benefits because of mistakes by SSA, a lack of awareness of benefit eligibility, and budget cuts to SSA’s administrative budget. …

Apr 15, 2023

Union Negotiations Start On Monday

     Joe Davidson at the Washington Post reports that negotiations between the Social Security Administration and its largest employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), are scheduled to begin on Monday. According to the Post:

... At Social Security, labor relations still are hung over from the anti-union days of the Trump administration. President Donald Trump used executive orders to sharply weaken the ability of unions to bargain with agencies, including through the unilateral imposition of contract provisions. Union leaders say current Social Security leaders don’t want to give up that authority.

A key example is telework, which Republicans claim there is too much of in the federal workforce. Restrictive telework policies were implemented under Trump and the agency now “doesn’t want to give up its power,” [Rich] Couture [of the AFGE] said in a telephone interview. “It doesn’t want to give up its discretion.”

He added, “they won’t guarantee a telework program or telework levels. They won’t negotiate with us over telework, despite at one point promising to do so. That’s a huge issue that they have shown zero actual interest in fixing with us.”

Another key issue is the “very dire situation in terms of service delivery and how much it’s deteriorated in the last couple of years …” Couture said, “stemming from overwhelming workloads, low employee morale … a lack of competitive pay and benefits.” ...

Apr 14, 2023


     The Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB) has issued a 27 page report titled Social Security and State Disability Determination Services Agencies: A Partnership in Need of Attention. It's mostly descriptive. It does say that the DDS's are "struggling" and that " ... the Board believes long-standing frictions between SSA, state governments, and the DDSs call for ongoing review of how SSA and the DDSs work together and how the agency incorporates DDS needs into its overall strategic, performance, workforce, and contingency plans. ..." There's nothing I'd call a recommendation in the report.

Apr 13, 2023

SSA Ranks Poorly As Employer

     From Federal Times:

The results are in, and the Social Security Administration took last place among the best places to work in the federal government.

Each year, the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service analyzes job satisfaction among federal workers and ranks agencies against that by size. ...

The results for 2022 are also a harbinger of federal workforce attitudes and, perhaps, shifts. And this year, the results show a discouraging trend: Federal employee engagement and satisfaction fell for the second year in a row, and only four of the 17 large agencies improved their score from 2021, according to the survey. ...


Click on images to view full size
    In fact, even if you compare it to all agencies, regardless of size, Social Security still comes in last. Attention must be paid.

Apr 12, 2023

OHO Caseload Report


Click on image to view full size

Apr 11, 2023

Warnings From Employee Unions

     From Government Executive:

Officials with the nation’s largest federal employee union on Monday sounded the alarm on the staffing crisis at the Social Security Administration, warning that without a substantial budget increase and fundamental workforce policy changes, customer service could deteriorate even further. ...

At the Social Security Administration, staffing levels are at a 25-year low, despite ever increasing numbers of beneficiaries. ...

Although Congress appropriated around $785 million in additional spending for Social Security in the fiscal 2023 appropriations package, officials at the American Federation of Government Employees said after inflation, the impact of the new funding was “negligible.” Workloads for agency employees remain unsustainable, and around 1,000 workers are leaving the agency per month due to burnout and insufficient pay, benefits and workplace flexibilities. ...

Jessica LaPointe, president of AFGE Council 220, which represents field office, teleservice center and workload support unit workers at the agency, said management’s approach to dealing with the staffing crisis is simply making more people want to quit. The union and management are slated to begin renegotiation on six articles of their collective bargaining agreement next week.

“Hiring is down 50% since 2010, promotions are down 25%, and staffing is at a 25-year low,” she said. “Management has assigned workers to intake for most of the work week, so back-end work is now piling up, and managers are resorting to bullying tactics like leveraging leave, micromanagement and surveilling employees’ use of the bathroom to attempt to control back- and front-end productivity of workers . . . Employees are being treated like disposable cogs in a machine, and when an employee burns out and quits, the agency just seeks to replace them.” ...

LaPointe said that the union’s internal survey found that 8% of respondents knew a coworker who died by suicide at least in part due to work-related stress. ...

Edwin Osorio, first vice president of AFGE Council 220, said at least part of the blame can be placed at the feet of Kijakazi, who he said has shown a lack of leadership while atop the agency. ...

Apr 10, 2023

It's Been Slow Lately

     You may have noticed that I'm not posting much recently. That doesn't have to do with me. There is little to report. Things aren't changing for good or ill. Some of this is Congress. They're doing little with Social Security. Oversight hearings seem to be nearly a thing of the past. There's no hope of passing Social Security legislation. Some of it may be due to lingering effects of the pandemic. Until recently, there was little time to develop new policies for anything other than coping with Covid. Policy development was and is difficult anyway with people working from home most of the time. However, I think a lot of the torpor at Social Security has to do with the fact that there's no confirmed Commissioner of Social Security. An Acting Commissioner can't lead in the same way that a confirmed Commissioner can. Yes, there's a real potential for bad new policies as well as good with a confirmed Commissioner but sitting dead in the water for years on end isn't good for the agency or the people it serves. The lack of action on an occupational information system is one prominent example of the lack of leadership at Social Security.

    So, why hasn't the President nominated a new Commissioner?

Apr 9, 2023

Happy Easter


Ukrainian Easter Eggs

Apr 7, 2023

This Should Come As No Surprise

     From the Associated Press:

Most U.S. adults are opposed to proposals that would cut into Medicare or Social Security benefits, and a majority support raising taxes on the nation’s highest earners to keep Medicare running as is.

The new findings, revealed in a March poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, come as both safety net programs are poised to run out of enough cash to pay out full benefits within the next decade.

Few Americans would be OK with some ways politicians have suggested to shore up the programs: 79% say they oppose reducing the size of Social Security benefits and 67% are against raising monthly premiums for Medicare. ...

Instead, a majority — 58% — support the idea of increasing taxes on households making over $400,000 yearly to pay for Medicare, a plan proposed by President Joe Biden last month. ...

Three-quarters of Americans say they oppose raising the eligibility age for Social Security benefits from 67 to 70, and 7 in 10 oppose raising the eligibility age for Medicare benefits from 65 to 67. ...

While most support increasing taxes on households earning more than $400,000 a year to pay for Medicare, the poll shows a political divide on doing so: 75% of Democrats support the tax but Republicans are closely divided, with 42% in favor, 37% opposed and 20% supporting neither. ...

    So why do Republicans in Congress keep talking about raising full retirement age and keep refusing to consider any changes to FICA? That's what their big money donors want; their rank and file members not so much.

Apr 6, 2023

Hear From The Acting Commissioner

     From the Urban Institute:

Join the Urban Institute for a conversation with Kilolo Kijakazi, acting Social Security Administration (SSA) commissioner, and Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute. They will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing SSA. In 2023, SSA will administer benefits and payments for over 70 million people, and Social Security will cover about 181 million workers and their families. 

Following the conversation with Kijakazi, an expert panel will discuss challenges facing Social Security retirement and disability programs. Researchers will present policy options that could promote equity and bolster the financial security of retirees, people with disabilities, and their families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. ...

    You can attend this by Zoom. It's at 2:00 Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 11.

Apr 5, 2023

Video CEs To Continue On Limited Basis

     Prior to the Covid pandemic, the Social Security Administration used video technology to perform consultative medical examinations (CEs) -- to help evaluate disability claims -- on a very limited basis. For understandable reasons, the agency has made much more extensive use of video technology for CEs during the pandemic but the pandemic is waning. The President has declared that the Public Health Emergency will end on May 11, 2023. Social Security has just issued an Emergency Message detailing how it will use video technology for CEs after May 11. They will use video technology only for psychiatric CEs, psychological CEs without standardized testing and speech and language CEs. The claimant must agree to the video CE.

Apr 4, 2023

Why Did Anybody Ever Take This Seriously?

    From Semafor:

The closely watched effort by a club of Senate moderates to craft a bipartisan Social Security reform plan may be stalling out for the foreseeable future. ...

No Democrats so far are willing to sign on as original co-sponsors of a potential final proposal, despite the fact that Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia, D-Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, another independent who caucuses with Democrats, form part of the bipartisan gang. Both are up for re-election in 2024. ...

    And no Republican would have been a sponsor for a bill that increases taxes so the whole thing was a waste of time. Nobody in Congress is willing to admit they favor a "bipartisan" approach. Nobody.

Apr 3, 2023

Any Politician Who Supports Raising Full Retirement Age Is Way Out On A Political Limb

     From The Hill:

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans said in a new poll that they would oppose the federal government raising the full retirement age for Social Security from 67 to 70. 

In a new Quinnipiac University poll published Thursday 78 percent of respondents said they would oppose the move, while 17 percent of those surveyed said they would support it. 

In the survey, 77 percent of Republican respondents said they would oppose raising the full retirement age for social security, while 81 percent of Democrat respondents and 75 percent of independent respondents also agree with the same sentiment.  ...

Apr 2, 2023

Members Of Congress Press For Social Security To Receive An Adequate Operating Budget

     One hundred and six (if I've counted correctly) members of Congress have signed a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee having jurisdiction over Social Security asking that the Social Security Administration receive the full funding requested by the Biden Administration for the next fiscal year.

Apr 1, 2023

Fewer Applications Where There Are Fewer Field Offices

     From Does the Drop in Child SSI Applications and Awards During COVID Vary by Locality? a study by Michael Levere, Jeffrey Hemmeter, and David Wittenburg:

Child applications and awards for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) fell sharply at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cumulative applications from April to September 2020 were about 30 percent lower than applications over the same period in 2019. Yet the decline varied substantially across local areas. In this paper, we explore the factors correlated with the change in applications and awards at the beginning of the pandemic.

The paper found that:

  • The restriction of in-person services at all Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices in March 2020 played an important role in changes in SSI applications; counties with their own field offices, where the change in service availability is largest, experienced larger declines.
  • The pandemic’s myriad disruptions to social and service networks through which people may learn about SSI also contributed to declining applications, as declines were largest in counties with more children that participated in SSI before the pandemic and in counties where more people had a self-identified disability.
  • New macroeconomic stabilization policies such as economic impact payments and supplemental unemployment insurance payments also appear to have led to fewer child SSI applications. Counties with larger employment reductions early in the pandemic, which likely benefited most from these stabilization policies, subsequently also had fewer SSI applications.