Social security offices all over the country are slowly closing their doors. Telephone service lines for Social Security are coming up busy. Plus, getting approval for a Social Security Disability benefits claim can take up to two years. Yet, this year’s payroll tax surplus is estimated to be around $15.7 billion. So why is the Social Security Administration (SSA) struggling to serve the people who need their Social Security benefits?
Why is Social Security Service Getting Worse?
Social Security has accumulated $2.8 trillion, yet the SSA can’t seem to make ends meet when it comes to administration. Since 2011, SSA has had to close 64 field offices along with 533 mobile offices. A call to the agency’s phone line will often result in a busy signal, and the offices that remain open are being forced to operate on short hours. Staffing at these offices are often spread thin, and that’s why it comes as no surprise to learn that wait times for claim approvals can take up to two years. In the meantime, Americans with disabilities can be evicted, lose their cars, and even die. So, if Social Security has trillions in its coffers, why can’t it hire more staff and improve its service? Congress, that’s why.
You see, SSA funds its operations using the same funds it collects from your payroll taxes. It uses this money to maintain offices, run phone lines, and hire staff. However, the agency can’t just use whatever amount of money it needs from the Social Security fund. Congress has to approve how much the SSA can use, and since 2010, Congress has been steadily decreasing just how much the SSA can use for administrative costs.
As of October 1st, SSA will have to contend with another decrease in the funding it has available to it, despite the fact that the number of people relying on Social Security is growing at around 12 percent every year. How can the SSA keep running when it has more people to serve, and less money to handle costs? It can’t.
Some analysts believe that the underfunding of Social Security is an attempt to kill the program so a privatized system can take over. But the American people have constantly resisted these types of policies. A new election is coming up in November, which means there is another opportunity for the American people to speak out against politicians who would try to hurt Social Security. Let your voice be heard at the voting booth, and help save Social Security.
Crip the vote, America! A message from the Tulsa disability attorneysat Troutman & Trouman.