Friday, February 29, 2008

Social Security Disability Claims in Kansas

The social security administration had a pilot program in the wings that would have reduced public availability hours at social security offices. Why? So social security field office claims reps could actually get their work done, while they drown under mountains of paperwork, doing sometimes one and a half times the amount of work they are supposed to be doing because a short-sighted and irresponsible Congress refuses to provide the amount of funding that would be necessary to replace social security office workers that have quit or retired.

So, what does Congresswoman Nancy Boyda of Kansas do? She gets the program designed to temporarily reduce hours (and give social security employees a chance to catch up)... stopped in its tracks. Why did she do this? She claims on her blog that this was to help citizens in Kansas who have decided to file for disability, over 26 percent of whom are waiting for their social security disability cases to be heard.

However, here's the real reason she did it (in my own opinion, of course): it was the easiest, simplest, and most expedient way to grab attention and a headline, while taking on the cloak of a "champion of the citizens of Kansas".

The truth is, the social security administration would not have considered reducing public availability hours if there wasn't a real institutional problem at SSA---not enough workers to do the job. Yet, Nancy Boyda's solution is NOT to increase the agency's budget to a level that would allow for the retention and hiring of workers, but rather to prevent the agency from enacting a stopgap measure designed to take some pressure off the existing workforce.

Congresswoman Boyda's actions, while politically expedient, will do nothing to actually help the citizens of Kansas who are applying for disability. And her actions may actually gather some mileage in hurting. After all, field office workers can only do but so much work. And, if you keep piling it on, the work will only move slower and slower and slower and slower. Surely, a person as intelligent as a representative to Congress should understand this. Yet, supporting a short-term program to reduce the pressure on field office workers is not nearly as attractive to a politician as grabbing the opportunity to appear in newspapers as "the citizen's savior".

This is unfortunately the type of government we have. And when you consider how far in debt this government is, and the size of federal deficits, I suppose that none of this is really surprising.

Cheers to Congresswoman Boyda for efficiency in government and her able representation of individuals with disabilities in Kansas.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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