Showing the POS’s true priorities, the Obama administration is dismantling the bureaucratic infrastructure of the Social Security Administration at dizzying speed while the police-state Department of Homeland Security has ballooned into the largest federal government agency in a mere 13 years, with 240,000 full-time workers, a $61 billion budget, sub-agencies that include the notorious TSA and FEMA, and enough ammo to fight a hot war for 20+ years.
(For more on the DHS leviathan, see “Constitutional attorney: Department of Homeland Security is Obama’s standing army“.)
There are dramatic changes underway that threaten to end Social Security as we know it — yet almost no one has even heard of it.
That’s the warning by J. David Cox Sr., the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).
AFGE represents more than 670,000 federal and D.C. government employees nationwide, including more than 28,000 Social Security Administration (SSA) field office employees across America.
In an article republished by the Omaha Sun Times on June 16, 2014, Cox explains that the plan is called Vision 2025, and every working American has a stake in it. The plan’s ramifications will affect every working man and woman in this country for generations.
This is how perverse the plan is:
Social Security Administration dispenses $850 billion a year to more than 43 million Americans in 1,200 field offices across the country. SSA has lost 12% of its employees in just the past three years, and another third (30,000 employees) of the SSA workforce will retire in the next decade. “Customer” demand is breaking records, yet failure to fill vacancies means longer waits for appointments, three times longer than last year for assistance on SSA’s 1-800 phone line. SSA’s website that was set up to take pressure off the field offices can’t meet demand either.
So what does the head of SSA do?
The answer is Vision 2025, SSA’s long-range strategic plan for the next 10 years which will be unveiled this Fall.
Cox calls a draft of the plan, being developed for SSA by the National Academy of Public Administration, “frightening”:
- Most of SSA’s 1,200 field offices will be shut down, leaving the agency with a “significantly smaller and more virtual workforce.” Already, 80 SSA field offices have been closed, with the remaining offices having their hours dramatically reduced.
- The 30,000 SSA employees who will be retiring will not be replaced.
- The remaining employees will be “generalists” who lack the technical skills and expertise to address benefits questions.
- Customers could reach an actual claims representative only in “very limited circumstances,” either through in-person visits, phone calls, online chats or video conferences. In the vast majority of cases, the only way to interact with SSA would be online, through the SSA website’s “online self-service delivery.”
Self-service checkout may work at grocery stores, but it’s not the right model for an agency tasked with determining complex retirement and disability benefits for tens of millions of Americans each year.
Most of the individuals contacting SSA for help are elderly, disabled or indigent. Many others are active seniors who simply are overwhelmed by the complicated maze of laws, regulations and policies pertaining to retirement benefits. They deserve and expect face-to-face interaction with skilled employees who can ensure they receive all the benefits they are owed.
The American Federation of Government Employees will submit testimony at a congressional hearing on SSA’s plan to dismantle the program. We are urged to contact our Congressional critters because our retirement security — to which we’ve contributed our entire working life — is at stake.