As this blog has reported previously, there is a serious backlog of disability cases awaiting further review by an administrative law judge or other Social Security staff.
With the most recent budget proposal submitted by the Social Security Administration, which will cover the agency’s operations in fiscal year 2019, some are concerned that ongoing staffing problems will only make this problem worse.
It is important to remember, however, that this proposed budget is not touching on the amount of payments disabled residents of Central Florida would receive, as those could only be changed via Congressional action.
However, the budget does address how the SSA plans to administer these benefits with the funds it has been given. Specifically, the plan proposes further automation, via telephone and the internet, of the services people can also get by a visit to a branch office of the SSA but that do not require an in-person visit.
In theory, this emphasis on automation will save costs and allow for fewer staff members to do more work. The budget is optimistic in this respect in that it proposes to deliver similar services to the public using much less labor. For example, it proposes to limit SSA staff members from taking overtime sharply, to one-third of current levels. These workers will still have to manage what, with respect to disability claims at least, continues to be a growing caseload.
Residents of Florida should continue to monitor these sorts of issues, as they will no doubt affect how easy or difficult it is to navigate through the Social Security disability system in order to draw the disability benefits that they likely need in order to stay afloat financially.
Source: The Washington Post, “Trump’s Social Security budget offers more work, less staff, longer waits,” Joe Davidson, Feb. 27, 2018.