The New Crisis Brewing in Social Security – Customer Service

Even casual followers of anything related to Social Security are likely aware of the program’s long term funding challenges due to changing demographics.  But as Mark Miller of Reuters reports in this article, customer service is the newest flash point.  Three former commissioners have written a letter to the congressional leadership calling for administrative budget reforms.  This year the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay $1.1 trillion in benefits to 69 million recipients, and the agency forecasts its beneficiary rolls will increase 43% over the next 20 years.  But Congress cut the agency’s budget nearly 11% between 2010 and 2019, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, while the number of beneficiaries grew by more than 16%.  SSA responded by closing 67 field offices that provide critical service to the public.  Wait times on its toll-free phone line have soared, and there is a very large backlog of disability insurance claims waiting for decisions on appeal.  Read the full piece here, which includes a suggested solution to remove Social Security from budget caps and a link to the actual letter sent to 19 members of Congress.




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