$14.8 Billion Approved for Social Security Budget

Since its inception in 1935, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has faced many obstacles, challenges, and criticisms. This year proves no different as President Biden secures nearly $15 billion to help the struggling agency and those who benefit from it. In fact, the SSA administers retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to around 70 million Americans.

With his $14.8 million 2023 SSA budget, the President said his goal is to provide the administration with the funding necessary to improve services. Still, many critics say it’s far from the funding the SSA needs. The new budget is an increase of $1.8 billion, or approximately 14 percent, over the funding enacted in 2021. The additional funding is for improving the agency’s services. Of that, $224 million more than in 2021 would go towards efforts to protect the program’s integrity. This comes on the heels of Biden having sought additional money for Social Security last year, a 9.7 percent increase, or $14.2 billion total, for 2022. The President requested these funds to help improve SSA customer service during the Covid-19 pandemic.

2023 SSA Proposed Changes

Biden’s budget sets aside an additional $1.6 billion for services for:

  • Field offices
  • State disability determination services
  • Teleservice centers

The extra funding would also be used to add more staff to help decrease wait times and increase the processing of disability claims. It will also enable the SSA to enact changes to help ensure everyone who needs its services can access them, including:

The $224 million increase from 2021 is earmarked for protecting the SSA program’s integrity and increases the total budget increase to $1.8 billion. Those funds will be used to see that the program is providing the right benefits to those who are qualified participants and that its funding is spent responsibly. That money would also help in the investigation and prosecution of fraud.

Critics React to the SSA Budget

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare applauded the proposed funding for the SSA’s operations.

The non-profit advocacy group states that over a decade of spending cuts and the COVID-19 pandemic have placed a severe strain on the current SSA budget. The increased funding stands to help lessen customer service bottlenecks, including long wait times on the SSA’s 800 number and for disability hearings. It should also help the agency reopen necessary field offices shuttered during the pandemic.

Even still, this group said it hoped to see more in the budget, such as an increase in benefits and changes to the payroll wage cap that would ensure the wealthy are paying their share into the SSA system.

Another non-profit organization, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, criticized the fact that Biden’s 2023 SSA budget didn’t address the looming SSA shortfall. The new budget also comes as the trust funds, which the SSA uses to pay benefits, are expected to be exhausted by 2034. At that point, nearly 80 percent of promised benefits will be payable.

If you need help understanding social security or applying for benefits through the SSA, reach out to a seasoned OC social security disability lawyer today.