“Congress handed the Social Security Administration a modest financial lifeline today, but the extra money may only help the agency to tread water. The Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government temporarily funded boosts spending for the Social Security Administration (SSA), an agency that has been chronically under-funded while striving to improve customer service to the public. Under the CR, SSA will receive an additional $400 million for FY 2023. We applaud Congressional Democrats for inserting this funding increase into the bill when spending for most other agencies remains temporarily frozen.
The increased funding should help SSA cope with its long-standing customer service backlog, which was greatly exacerbated by the pandemic. Customers have been subjected to long hold times on the SSA toll-free phone line, extensive delays awaiting disability claims hearings, and – since the re-opening of field offices last summer – waiting in line at some locations for hours in the heat. With the new level of funding, those problems likely will not get worse, but they may not significantly improve.
SSA requested twice as much funding for the CR ($800 million) and Congress should approve that level when an Omnibus Appropriations bill for the reminder of FY 2023 is enacted. We will work with Social Security champions in Congress and other advocacy groups to secure SSA the funding it truly needs to improve customer service. American workers whose wages finance the Social Security program expect Congress to fully fund SSA so it can properly serve the public.” – Max Richtman, President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare