The President issued his proposed budget this week, structured on proposals to speed job growth, strengthen the middle class, and improve the nation’s fiscal position for the long-term. The proposed budget would provide $12.1 billion in funding to the Social Security Administration (SSA), up from $11.7 billion for the 2014 fiscal year.
Among the highlights for SSA would be $100 million appropriated for a customer service modernization initiative, $150 million to be used to further reduce wait times, and $400 million for SSA to partner with other Federal agencies to develop strategies to help people with disabilities remain in the workforce. The proposed budget would also begin to establish mandatory funding in 2016 for Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR – the process by which SSA reviews disability benefit recipients to ensure their conditions remain severe enough to prevent them from working), and also proposes offsets of Social Security benefits to repay government debts or to account for months in which a beneficiary also receives an unemployment benefit. The budget would also make the Social Security earnings record more accurate by implementing quarterly wage reporting as opposed to the annual reporting currently in place. Notably missing was a plan to reduce the cost of living adjustment (COLA) over time for beneficiaries who receive benefits longer. This concept, known as Chained Consumer Price Indexing (or chained CPI) was in the President’s proposed budget last year, but proved to be unpopular in his political party. (more…)