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President’s Budget Proposal Includes Slight Increase For SSA

2020 February 17
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by Mary Dale Walters

The Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposes $13.7 billion for the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is a slight increase from $13.3 billion in FY2020. The budget includes a number of reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program that it believes will reduce costs, improve efficiencies and lower the number of claimants who ultimately receive benefits. 

Provisions include:

  • A renewed effort to reduce the retroactive payment period prior for disability beneficiaries to six months from 12 months, which the administration states would align the program with retirement benefits.
  • A plan to offset SSDI payments with unemployment insurance benefits if the individual is among a small number receiving both concurrently. Some estimates put this number at less than one half of one percent.
  • Permitting state Disability Determination Service (DDS) staff to conduct hearings related to the cessation of benefits issued by a “federal component.” This provision could support the SSA’s efforts to increase the number and frequency of full medical Continuing Disability Reviews, which can lead to cessation of benefits.

The SSA also proposes removing the requirement of signed authorization from a disability applicant in order to retrieve medical evidence from custodians of claimant records. In addition, among efforts to reduce and recover overpayments, the administration calls for excluding SSA debts from being discharged in a bankruptcy unless it would cause an undue hardship.

The administration’s plan is considered a starting point for discussions with the appropriators in Congress. Allsup will continue to monitor budget provisions for FY2021, which begins Oct. 1, 2020.

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