Bernie Sanders Newest Social Security Bill

October 3, 2018

Senator Sanders lays out a plan to bolster the services Social Security provides

But Social Security’s woes are about more than money. There are procedural issues, too, that can make getting benefits a chore for certain folks, such as the disabled. This is what prompted former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to introduce the Social Security Administration Fairness Act on June 27, 2018.

The Social Security Administration Fairness Act aims to make three substantive changes to the existing law.

To begin with, it would set the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) funding at 1.5% of overall benefit payments. Last year, despite $952.5 billion in expenditures, the SSA received just $6.5 billion in funding to run offices and pay employees. Though this was an improvement from the $6.2 billion in funding apportioned for 2016, the fact remains that the program’s funding has declined 9% since 2010 as its beneficiary count has grown by 15%. More than doubling the SSA’s funding should help it work through an exceptionally long disability request backlog, as well as meet the expectations of beneficiaries who have questions or concerns.

Secondly, Sanders’ bill would address the exceptionally long wait times those applying for disability contend with in regard to disability insurance payments and Medicare. This bill would eliminate the five-month waiting period to receive benefits for approved Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) recipients, as well as eliminate the two-year waiting period of SSDI beneficiaries to qualify for Medicare.

Third and finally, it would place a moratorium on the closure of Social Security field offices and contact stations that are on the front lines of providing services to the American public.

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