Time is money: Let’s open Social Security field offices, not close them

Under Republican control, Congressional budget cuts to the Social Security Administration (SSA) have resulted in field office closings, massive layoffs, and workload backlogs. It doesn’t have to be this way.

In 2019, with Democrats in control of the House, we need legislation to require SSA to operate a sufficient number of field offices and employ an adequate number of personnel at each, to provide convenient and accessible services to the public while minimizing wait times.

Read more (The Hill) »

Retirement in America is too expensive, so some are going offshore

“Retirement offshoring” is the little-discussed phenomenon of migration from North to South by retirees. A new book examines the lives of expats in Ecuador and their struggle to stay in the middle class.

The movement of “snowbird” pensioners from cold Northern countries to warmer, Southern ones, illustrates that maintaining middle-classness into one’s golden years is getting more and more difficult. It is also the story of the stark inequality between wealthy countries that produce “expats” and poorer countries that send “migrants.”

Read more (The New Republic) »

Have a Social Security Question? Please Hold

Social Security has closed 67 field offices since fiscal 2010 in rural and urban areas alike. For the public, the cuts have meant less access to field offices, and ballooning wait times in the remaining 1,229 offices and on the agency’s toll-free line. It also has meant long delays in hearings on disability insurance appeals and in resolving benefit errors.

Washington state is actually home to one of five “mega” teleservice centers run by the Social Security Administration, and that particular office has seen much larger staff cuts compared to most states. As you might imagine, pay and morale are very low, and attrition is very high: over 1/3 of the workforce lost annually.

Read more (New York Times) »

Delivering on the promise of America’s pension plan: Seven Social Security reforms Congress should enact now

Social Security benefits are crucial to the economic security of more than 1.3 million Washington residents and their families, and contribute significantly to the economic stability of every region of the state.

Yet some members of Congress are threatening once again to cut Social Security to pay for tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations. Raising the retirement age or making other cuts to Social Security is the wrong approach.

Instead, federal lawmakers should act now to “scrap the cap” on taxable earnings and take six other steps to ensure the program meets the needs all workers, families and retirees for decades to come.

Read more: Economic Opportunity Institute

12 Top Things to Know About Social Security

Understand the program that helps secure your future. This informative article from AARP covers everything from how the Social Security Trust Fund operates to COLAs, working during retirement, and beyond.

Read more (AARP) »

Get Ready For A Post-Election Push To Slash Social Programs

Republicans want to scale back social insurance programs. They see dignity in retirement and relief from poverty as a burden on government, and an unnecessary extravagance for undeserving beneficiaries.

But frontal assaults are not the only way to mount an attack on social insurance. Other damage to social insurance is already in motion. No matter who wins tomorrow’s elections, this article is a must-read!

Read more (Talking Points Memo) »

Social Security and the U.S. deficit: Separating fact from fiction

This article puts a stake in the heart of most every criticism of Social Security you’ve ever heard — it’s a great review and summary of the facts. Now, if only certain elected leaders would read and take it to heart…!

Read more (Reuters) »