In the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023, President Joe Biden‘s administration is trying to allocate about $14.8 billion to the Social Security Administration (SSA), which oversees the nearly $70 million Social Security program. ‘Americans. This would represent an increase of $1.8 billion, or nearly 14%, over the SSA’s budget for fiscal year 2022.
But the president‘s budget proposal is really only the beginning of the budget process. Before the budget can be approved, the US Senate and House of Representatives will need to review and approve their own versions of the budget, then merge them into one.
Needless to say, a lot can change during this time, so how likely is Biden’s proposed 14% increase for SSA to be approved?
What would the extra money go to
The additional $1.8 billion for the SSA would be discretionary funding and would be used to improve SSA operations. Specifically, the majority of the funding increase ($1.6 billion) would be used to streamline SSA services and help the agency deal with various requests more efficiently.
This involves dividing the money between SSA’s field and telecom offices and investing in initiatives that would reduce customer wait times, increase reach, create a simpler application process, implement better technology and expand access to online and telephone customer service.
The remaining $224 million of the $1.8 billion increase would go toward creating better checks and balances at the SSA. This way, the agency will be better able to investigate fraud and ensure that qualified retirees who are indeed eligible for Social Security are receiving the correct benefits.
where are the things
With no budget scheduled for when fiscal year 2023 begins Oct. 1, which is not uncommon, Congress will have to pass what’s called a continuing resolution to keep government open.
As explained in a blog post by Kathleen Romig, director of Social Security and Disability Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, when there is continued resolution, agencies are generally funded at the same level as the Previous exercice.
However, continuing resolutions may incorporate some “anomaly” provisions, and the Biden administration actually included a provision in the proposed continuing resolution that would add approximately $800 million to the SSA’s operating budget. That’s $1 billion less than Biden’s proposed increase, but perhaps the rest of the increase will be allocated if and when Congress passes a budget later.
This temporary increase may be enough to allow the SSA to meet some of its most pressing needs. Customer service wait times have skyrocketed in recent years, and those applying for disability benefits sometimes face lengthy delays before getting final decisions from the agency.
Will the SSA finally get its 14% raise?
Congress is expected to pass a rolling resolution to fund the government through Dec. 16, which will launch full budget discussions down the road. But it would also give the SSA the extra $800 million of spending power sooner rather than later, unless there’s a sudden change.
However, it comes down to the thread. Members of Congress might end up debating some potential attachments unrelated to the current resolution, so I’ll keep an eye on this one until everything is final.