A good article at FederalTimes.com sets out the problems being faced by the Social Security Administration as Congress piles on additional duties, but refuses to increase the Social Security Administration budget. Excerpt:
In recent years, Congress has heaped a pile of additional tasks on the agency and its 65,000 employees, including:
- Identifying low-income seniors eligible for Medicare Part D assistance under the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act.
- Identifying high-income seniors who must pay additional Medicare Part B premiums beginning next year.
- Requiring more documents from applicants before issuing Social Security cards.
- Conducting additional reviews before Supplemental Security Income disability benefits are first paid.
Yet, Congress has failed to provide money to the agency to handle the additional work, agency managers say. Congress cut the agency’s proposed budget last year by nearly $300 million. The president is seeking $9.5 billion for the agency’s operations next year, a 4 percent hike over this year’s budget.