Social Security Administration Should be Exempt from Federal Hiring Freeze
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Al Lawson (FL-5) and Darren Soto (FL-9) sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump asking him to exempt the Social Security Administration from the federal hiring freeze “to ensure that the American people receive the first-class service they have already earned through a lifetime of hard work.”
Fifty lawmakers have signed on to the letter, noting that “Social Security is efficiently administered, spending less than a penny of every dollar on administration; all while the American population is rapidly aging with 10,000 people, on average, turning 65 every day.”
Since 2010, the administrative budget of the SSA has declined by 10 percent, while the number of beneficiaries has increased by more than 12 percent. This led to 64 field offices closing, a disability hearings backlog with an average of a 540-day waiting period, increased wait times at every point of contact, and extended durations for retirement and disability appointments.
The lawmakers cited a concern that the hiring freeze will make it more difficult for people to receive their benefits.
You can read the full letter here and below.
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
As Chief Executive of the United States, your obligation to respond to the changing needs of the public is critical to serving our country. It is with this responsibility in mind that we ask you to consider exempting the Social Security Administration (SSA) from the hiring freeze.
Social Security is efficiently administered, spending less than a penny of every dollar on administration; all while the American population is rapidly aging with 10,000 people, on average, turning 65 every day.
SSA nor its related administrative costs does not add a penny to the national debt. Although some in Congress refuse to acknowledge that many presidents, including President Ronald Reagan, have tried hard to dispel the myth that it does. According to the latest Trustees Report, Social Security currently has a $2.8 trillion surplus that is only continuing to grow.
Consequently, we strongly urge you to exempt SSA from your hiring freeze so that the agency can direct surplus funding to ensure that the American people receive the first-class service they have already earned through a lifetime of hard work.
Unfortunately, our current trajectory has us headed in the wrong direction. Since 2010, the administrative budget of SSA has declined by 10 percent, after adjusting for inflation, while the number of beneficiaries has increased by more than 12 percent. This had led to the closure of 64 field offices nationwide, a disability hearings backlog with an average of a 540-day waiting period, increased wait times at every point of contact, and extended durations for retirement and disability appointments. Field offices, payment centers, and disability determination services throughout the country are feeling the effects of increased demand as the population ages.
SSA, due to this dire funding shortage, has already been under an agency-imposed hiring freeze since last spring. The hiring freeze memorandum prevents SSA from replacing agency employees who are retiring at rates similar to that of the American workforce and will ultimately lead to a declination in the quality of programs that served over 60 million Americans in 2016.
On the campaign trail, you promised to not cut Social Security—particularly the benefits for our seniors. However, a hiring freeze does indirectly cut those benefits, by making it harder for workers and their families to access the benefits they have earned in a timely fashion.
We are concerned that the hiring freeze will make it more difficult for the citizens to receive the service they deserve. We ask you to exempt SSA from the hiring freeze both to uphold your Administration’s promise, and to fulfill our government’s obligation to the beneficiaries and the American public.
Al Lawson, Jr. Darren Soto
Sandford Bishop Earl Blumenauer
Anthony Brown Julia Brownley
Tony Cardenas Andre Carson
Kathy Castor Judy Chu
David Cicilline Steve Cohen
John Conyers Jim Costa
Charlie Crist Peter DeFazio
John Delaney Ted Deutch
Debbie Dingell Ruben Gallego
John Garamendi Raul Grijalva
Luis Gutierrez Alcee Hastings
Brian Higgins Eleanor Holmes Norton
Pramila Jayapal William Keating
Ro Khanna Brenda Lawrence
Barbara Lee Zoe Lofgren
Alan Lowenthal Michelle Lujan Grisham
Carolyn Maloney Doris Matsui
Betty McCollum James McGovern
Jerry McNerney Grace Napolitano
Tom O’Halleran Chellie Pingree
Mark Pocan Jamie Raskin
Dutch Ruppersberger Adam Schiff
Kurt Schrader Bobby Scott
Carol Shea-Porter Nydia Velazquez
Debbie Wasserman Schultz Daniel Zawitoski