The Social Security Administration (SSA) will benefit from a 9.7% increase in the administrative budget, according to Biden’s first official budget plan. This recommendation will partially reverse chronic congressional underfunding and counter increases in disability reviews.
SSA to Increase SSI Support
Congress has increasingly channeled funding away from the SSA to disability reviews with intention of removing those in need as beneficiaries. In fact, funding fell 13% from 2010 to 2021 as the number of SSA beneficiaries grew 22%. Contending this saved the government money, Congress exempted these administrative costs from budget caps.
Disability reviews are now ingrained in the SSA’s work culture. This is at the expense of fulfilling its core mission as a benefits-paying agency keeping millions of elderly and disabled Americans out of poverty.
The SSA Disability Review Process
Disability advocates argued the SSA’s current review process is often harmful, showing more than 800,000 disability applicants over the period 2007-2017 experienced homelessness. Even for disabled persons who have more settled circumstances, complex daily life is evident.
About 40% of Social Security disability beneficiaries face food insecurity or an inability to pay utility or housing bills while 25% were hospitalized over the previous 12 months. Meanwhile, nearly 60% of disability beneficiaries have difficulty walking as little as three blocks and almost 40% have trouble focusing.
In 2019, SSA suspended payments to 137,000 SSI beneficiaries, up 250% in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the administration plans to accelerate disability reviews over the next year in an effort to conduct the maximum number of reviews allowed by regulations.
In fact, the SSA plans to increase the number of full medical disability reviews next year by 36% and increase the number of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) redeterminations by 23%. This will potentially lead to hundreds of thousands more losing their benefits. These are beneficiaries in need of financial support to simply live their lives.
SSA beneficiaries often suffer cognitive impairments and have trouble understanding complex medical and legal issues. Many more beneficiaries deal with routine chaos such as poverty, domestic abuse, and homelessness. These disruptions to their daily lives understandably create difficulty in maintaining the demands of the SSA review process. If you feel the benefits you’re entitled to are being unjustly withheld, seek legal representation immediately.
SSI & How to Apply
Are you in need of assistance, but don’t yet have any? Are you in need, but don’t know where to turn? You or someone on your behalf may submit an application for SSI at www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/ and learn how to apply.
William C. Bernhardi Law Offices, PLLC is here to fight for your case and help you reach the safety net that you deserve. We focus our law practice on Social Security disability benefits cases. Our attorneys continue to stay up to date on the latest legislation, regulations, and court decisions, to help clients navigate the application and approval processes. Please feel free to call us if you need help with Social Security Disability or SSI.