Social Security Administrative Fairness Act (S. 3147/H.R. 6251)
Justice in Aging
Cuts to the Social Security Administration’s budget have been slowly eroding the quality of customer service the agency provides. These cuts include staffing, field office, and infrastructure cuts, meaning people who apply for or receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits have to contend with longer wait times, increased delays for appeal hearings, and fewer field offices in which to get in-person assistance from Social Security staff.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative John Larson (D-CT) recently introduced legislation to ensure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the resources it needs to provide beneficiaries with the services and support they deserve. The Social Security Administration Fairness Act (S.3147/H.R. 6251) establishes a set funding level for SSA equal to a percentage of the overall benefit payments the agency pays out. The legislation would also impose a moratorium on Social Security field office closures to halt the loss of additional field offices.
In addition, the legislation would also assist those eligible for or receiving disability benefits. Currently, those approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are subject to a five-month waiting period before they can receive disability benefits and must wait two years before they are eligible for Medicare. This delay in disability or health care benefits can be detrimental for people already dealing with the effects of a serious disability, in addition to other health problems. Sanders’s legislation would eliminate these waiting periods for disability recipients, allowing them to immediately access disability benefits and Medicare coverage.
Co-sponsors to this legislation in the Senate are Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The corresponding legislation in the House of Representatives has over 30 co-sponsors.
We’ll be tracking and reporting on any progress on the bill. Advocates can show their support for the bill by writing or calling their Member of Congress and asking them to sign on in support or thanking them for co-sponsoring.