Starting in 2010, the Social Security Administration has closed the local “field offices” in multiple rural and urban districts. For applicants without transportation, lack of access to local offices can be devastating. The consequence has been a huge escalation of waiting times in the existing offices. Closures have also resulted in greatly lengthened delays for hearings before Administrative Law Judges on appeals of disability applications. Applicants attempting to reach Social Security through the “hotline” telephone, now must wait much longer, sometimes hours, to get assistance over the telephone. It is common to get a “busy signal” or a very long hold time.
Social Security serves one million more beneficiaries each year. If its budget had kept pace with the Consumer Price Index since fiscal 2010, it would be $1.3 billion higher in fiscal 2019 than the $11.1 billion that has just been allocated, Ms. Romig said. And that is a conservative figure, because costs for big items, like office rent and health care, tend to rise more quickly than the C.P.I.
As the number of Social Security beneficiaries increases, the U.S. Congress has unfortunately cut the operating budges of the Social Security Administration. It has been estimated that there is a budget shortfall of approximately $1.3 billion dollars, merely to keep pace with inflation! These draconian budget cuts are a direct attack on the operation and administration of the Social Security system, by conservative lawmakers who wish to see beneficiaries without benefits they have paid for over their working lives.