When government agencies make administrative changes, these policy shifts do not ordinarily affect a significant number of Americans. However, when the Social Security Administration alters its approach to doing business, millions of disabled and elderly individuals may suffer consequences as a result.
A number of recent SSA reforms may be particularly affecting individuals who receive Social Security Disability benefits on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, because these administrative shifts are not generally considered “news,” you may not even be aware of what is going on.
Many of these shifts have occurred simply because Social Security is an expensive program and its budget is not regularly expanded, despite increases in the number of Americans who receive this kind of benefit. According to The Huffington Post, Congress has refused to grant 14 out of the last 16 budget requests submitted by the SSA. As a result, corners are being cut and beneficiaries are feeling the sting.
For example, SSA field staff has reduced to approximately 62,000 employees nationwide from about 70,000 in the 1990s, according to The Huffington Post. This rate of staff reduction has caused busy signals on phone lines operated by the SSA to double over the last year alone. It is difficult to get issues sorted out with a benefits check or application when one cannot get through to an SSA employee. In addition, this staff reduction has resulted in much longer waiting times for a disability hearing.
If changes in SSA policy or staff reductions are causing you to worry and suffer frustrating consequences, please do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney experienced in dealing with the SSA. Hopefully, he or she will be able to help you navigate your issue in a timely and successful manner.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Invisible Social Security Cuts: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t,” Richard Eskow, April 9, 2014