In a meeting, a statement from a representative of Social Security Administration workers mentioned about the staffing and funding crisis could result in more Americans being denied the benefits they deserve.

Overworked employee (Source: Yahoo! Finance)

Congressional Underfunding Endangers SSA

According to the news released by Gobankingrates, a labor union that represents 750,000 federal and D.C. employees, at a gathering on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., mentioned the staffing and funding crisis it has been going through.

According to Jessica LaPointe, head of AFGE Council 220, which represents SSA field office personnel, the agency is presently in crisis as a result of over a decade of Congressional underfunding. The body that represents the vast majority of SSA employees has been warned that the Social Security Administration is endangered.

The AFGE stated that the number of Social Security beneficiaries has increased by 25% over the last decade, while the SSA’s operational expenditures have declined. Hiring has dropped by half in recent years, contributing to a labor shortage that would reduce SSA personnel numbers to a 25-year low by the end of fiscal year 2022.

From the previous meeting, LaPointe mentioned a similar warning, claiming the staffing and financial problems it is going through. These remarks came just a day after interim Social Security commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi stated that the agency’s current funding levels “are not sufficient to make the improvements [they] had hoped to be able to make.”

Because of the inflation rate since 2010, the agency’s customer service budget has decreased by 17% as reported by GOBankingRates.  AFGE National President Everett Kelley mentioned in the meeting last week, that despite all of the best efforts of SSA’s overworked employees, there are still growing backlogs in the field, more service delays on the 800 number, and long lines at field offices across the country.

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Lawmakers’ Action on the Problem

Legislators who support bolstering Social Security before its Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund runs out of funds also attended the occasion. This is anticipated to occur within the next decade, leaving the program entirely reliant on payroll taxes for revenue – and those payments only cover roughly 77% of present benefits.

According to U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), Congress was neglecting the crisis that SSA is going through. For the past 52 years since the start of the program, there was no bill passed to improve said program.

Larson is the primary proponent of Social Security 2100, a bill that would enhance all Social Security benefits and “protect” the trust fund by taxing wages above $400,000 per year. Social Security taxes currently apply solely to wages of up to $160,200.

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