Biden’s 2022 Budget Would Increase the Social Security Administration’s Budget by 9.7%, or $1.3 Billion
The proposed budget for 2022 from the Biden Administration calls for a total of $14.2 billion in funding for the Social Security Administration. The increase comes at a time when the administration expects to pay more than $1.2 trillion in both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. There will be an estimated 75 million beneficiaries in 2022.
The likely area of focus if the budget is approved, is customer service, as the administration works to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration’s commissioner, Andrew Saul, said that the money would allow them to pursue an array of improvement efforts. During the agency’s budget overview, he discussed the areas that would be impacted which included wait times and backlogs, community outreach, and technology improvements.
“The President’s budget will allow us to begin recovering from the coronavirus pandemic disruptions, building on the lessons we learned to become a stronger and more responsive agency,” Saul said.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security, an advocacy group, claims that the money is imperative if the agency hopes to serve its current beneficiaries and applicants adequately. Their Director of Government Relations, Dan Adcock, says that “customer service is long overdue for many improvements to keep up with the demand.”
While the pandemic has no doubt been a challenge for the agency, many of the problems and areas of improvement date back to before COVID-19. Long wait times for people trying to call the agency’s 800 number have always been a problem. Additionally, the agency faces the problem of a massive backlog of disability insurance cases under review. These are the areas that the Biden Administration hopes can be improved by the increased budget proposal.
In 2020, wait times for hearings were up to 386 days, according to the Social Security Administration’s estimates. The money could allegedly help reduce this number down to 270 days for fiscal year 2022.
Due to the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill, the budget proposal should have a lot of support. Representative John Larson of Connecticut, who serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Social Security has been an advocate for the proposed budget. “President Biden’s budget proposal includes the necessary increases for the Social Security Administration to help Americans access the benefits they’re earned,” Larson said in a statement.