Proposed Social Security Administration (SSA) Funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017
President Obama has requested $13.237 billion in funding for the SSA in FY 2017. This funding request would cover the SSA’s administrative costs. None of the money requested would go toward the payment of benefits.
Of the $13.237 billion requested, $112 million would go to the SSA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), $58 million would be directed to research, and $13.067 billion would go to the SSA’s limitation on administrative expenses (LAE). So called because it limits the amount the SSA can spend on administrative costs, the LAE money comes from SSA’s trust funds (as opposed to outside funds transferred in), covers all things administratively essential to the work of the SSA: staff salaries, offices, equipment, and so on. The LAE request for FY 2017 is an increase of 4.4% from President Obama’s LAE request for FY 2016.
The budget proposal includes provisions to expand online services and shorten wait times on the toll-free national call center’s phone lines. It also highlights the major points of the SSA’s new CARES plan, which aims to reduce the overwhelming hearings backlog and significantly shorten claims processing times to 270 days by FY 2020.
Among the legislative proposals outlined in the budget request are the following:
-Allow the SSA to collect overpayments with interest from “fraud facilitators”
-Make use of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data to monitor benefit payments
-Allow the SSA to make its death information available to other federal agencies via the Treasury Department’s “Do Not Pay” initiative in order to prevent improper payments
-Allow the SSA to conduct a new Continuing Disability Review (CDR) the event that a prior CDR was based on fraudulent information or evidence
-Allow the SSA to verify real property data using commercial databases in order to determine Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility
-Allow the SSA to reclaim at least 10% of a monthly Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) overpayment
-Exclude SSA debts from discharge in bankruptcy proceedings, unless in a case where such an exclusion would cause extreme hardship
If history is any indicator, it is not likely that Congress will agree to the President’s budget request. In past years, Congress has significantly reduced the President’s requested appropriations to the SSA by multiple percentage points.