The Social Security Administration (SSA) and the President’s 2014 Budget
President Obama has requested $12.457 billion in SSA funding for the coming fiscal year. If authorized in full, which is unlikely, given that for the past two years, Congress has authorized an SSA budget approximately one billion dollars short of what the President has requested, the budget would allow the SSA to correct for some of the cutbacks in employee hours and hiring freezes it has had to enact as a result of insufficient funding. It would also allow the SSA to invest in newer, more efficient technology that could streamline some of the bureaucratic procedures that delay the processing of claims and other services provided.
Furthermore, the proposed 2014 budget includes a provision for the creation of a Program Integrity Administrative Expenses (PIAE) account. The purpose of the PIAE account, for which the President has requested $1,500,000,000, would be to finance potentially money-saving Social Security Insurance (SSI) redeterminations and continuing disability reviews (CDRs). CDRs alone, the SSA estimates, save taxpayers about $9 for every $1 invested, where SSI redeterminations, it estimates, save about $5 for every $1 spent.
The cutbacks the SSA has made in recent years have negatively affected not only its employees and the public, but also claimant representatives. Shortages in SSA personnel and lengthier processing times have delayed hearing decisions, forced the suspension of certain sorts of SSA-issued notices, and delayed payment of attorney’s fees. The proposed 2014 budget would likely rectify some of these issues as well.