Taxes

Finding Value—and my Social Security—in light of Budget Cuts

January 9, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: January 14, 2021

man and woman on computerEvery payday, you have Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) taxes deducted from your paycheck. Nearly all of these contributions are used to pay Social Security benefits to more than 60 million retired, disabled, and widowed workers and their children, as well as to Medicare beneficiaries. A very small amount also helps pay for the work it takes to manage Social Security programs.

Providing Social Security services to the public is a big job. We have fewer than 64,000 employees in offices across the country handling millions of transactions yearly — taking applications, answering questions in person and on the phone, verifying benefit amounts, and reviewing appeals, among other things. The cost of doing these services is less than one penny out of each dollar paid in FICA and SECA taxes, which is a very good value.

Lawmakers in Congress decide each year how much money we can use to manage our programs and pay our staff. Because that hasn’t been settled yet, we’re operating under a continuing resolution (CR) with less funding than last year. This is not new for us. In fact, the amount we have to run our programs is 10 percent lower than it was in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries we serve has gone up by 13 percent. So, we have fewer resources to serve more people.

We made some difficult decisions because of these latest budget limits. During the past year, we began a hiring freeze that will reduce our staff to the lowest level since FY 2013. We use a lot less overtime now, which affects our ability to reduce critical backlogs. Over a million people are waiting for a hearing to see if they are eligible for disability benefits.

Today, we are taking another cost-saving step. We will mail fewer paper Social Security Statements. Paper Statements will only be sent to people age 60 and over, who are not getting benefits and don’t have a my Social Security account. This will bring down the costs of processing and mailing paper Statements by $11.3 million in FY 2017.

We know that our cutbacks will affect many of you, but we have no choice. We will continue to serve you and work for you as best we can. Congress has until April 28, 2017, to pass a spending bill for the full year or pass another CR. While we can’t predict our budget level for the rest of the fiscal year, we think there may be more bumps in our journey together. We’ll do our best to get through them so you will have a secure today and tomorrow.


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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications

Comments

  1. MIchael W.

    As an American Citizen and a black Negro I have tried to place my faith and trust in the Social Security Administration. However as I have found out and when a Senior white citizen has advised me the Social Security has a program where an only Individual who provides home care for a parent with Alzheimers. and who the white people refuses to employ so that the only support they have is their Alzheimers parent sharing their retirement with them has a program to pay a monthly stipend to that individual is not being honored here in the State of Georgia. Yet still black negro males are being denied constitutional opportunities here in Georgia because our skin is black and we are not sinless and holy like white people. Carry on I am amused. Please don’t e-mail me, I am not interested in keeping a protracted conversation on the internet. If I am not good enough to hire for the last 18 years I have no wish to keep on a protracted conversation on the internet

  2. K

    There is one group that SS did not mention in this little email of theirs. ILLEGAL ALIENS-PEOPLE WHO STEAL OTHER PEOPLES ID AND THEN COLLECT ON THEIR SS. It also seems to me that I remember hearing at one point in the last few years that some of the SS money was actually pulled out and used to fund other purposes. Now if that is completely true-in the private sector if a company used specifically designated money for one purpose and pulled it out and used for another, couldn’t that be considered embezzlement? Wouldn’t that be like money designated for a 401K and taking it out without permission by the person investing, and using it to fund the company employee picnic; or better yet the CEO’s vacation to the Virgin Islands? That is stealing from the original investor isn’t it? And shouldn’t that be prosecuted?

  3. Tony S.

    Since 2014 Medicaid has been paying Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) of the male-to-female (MTF) type. HRT of the MTF type is a form of hormone therapy and sex reassignment therapy that is used to change the secondary sexual characteristics of transgender and transsexual people from masculine (or androgynous) to feminine. It is one of two types of HRT for transgender and transsexual people, the other being female-to-male, and is predominantly used to treat transgender women. The main effects of HRT of the MTF type are as follows: Breast development and enlargement. Softening and thinning of the skin. Decreased body hair growth and density. Redistribution of body fat in a feminine pattern. Decreased muscle mass and strength. Widening of the hips (if epiphyseal closure has not yet occurred; see below). Decreased acne, skin oiliness, scalp hair loss, and body odor. Decreased size of the penis, scrotum, testicles, and prostate. Suppressed or abolished spermatogenesis and fertility. Decreased semen production/ejaculate volume. Changes in mood, emotionality, and behavior. Decreased sex drive and incidence of spontaneous erections. Breast, nipple, and areolar development varies considerably depending on genetics, body composition, age of HRT initiation, and many other factors. Development can take a couple years to nearly a decade for some.

    After the gay bar shooting, that was the largest rampage shooting in US history Medicaid coverage for HRT for MTF and sex change operations must be re-evaluated. The FDA must redetermine Warfarin dependency be an absolute contraindication for estrogen consumption. Medicaid must not cater to or pay for gender dysphoria, to corruptly convince pubertal teenagers whose beard growth might be reduced, to be sickened by HRT for MTF type therapy, waiting to believe in breasts no one at the gay bar sees anymore. Medicaid must stop paying for the new fangled volunteer penectomy and invagination that revolutionizes the ancient practice of castrating eunuch slaves that might reduce estrogen needs to such a level they would not need Warfarin, but would probably not even reduce the dose of this absolute contraindication for Hippocratic HRT for MTF type use for timely failure to develop breasts under the Nuremberg Code. Medicaid must stop paying for HRT of the MTF type puberty corruption propaganda or sex change operations. Medicaid shall pay for the surgical removal of all extra reproductive organs of XXY, XYY Kinefelter syndrome transgender and XXX cisgender people and stop catering to the hormonal demands of their precancerous organs on teenage runaways unless these HRT for MTF type drugs are proven to improve, rather than harm, the patients’ health, and sex life, worse than a cigarette. Medicaid does not pay for cigarettes.

    Absolute contraindications – those that can cause life-threatening complications, and in which hormone replacement therapy should never be used – include histories of estrogen-sensitive cancer (e.g., breast cancer), thrombosis or embolism (unless the patient receives concurrent anticoagulants), or macroprolactinoma. In such cases, the patient should be monitored by an oncologist, hematologist or cardiologist, or neurologist, respectively. Relative contraindications – in which the benefits of HRT may outweigh the risks, but caution should be used – include: Liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, or stroke. Risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, or smoking
    Family history of breast cancer or thromboembolic disease. Gallbladder disease. Circulation or clotting conditions, such as peripheral vascular disease, polycythemia vera, sickle-cell anemia, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, factor V Leiden, prothrombin mutation, antiphospholipid antibodies, anticardiolipin antibodies, lupus anticoagulants, plasminogen or fibrinolysis disorders, protein C deficiency, protein S deficiency, or antithrombin III deficiency. As dosages increase, risks increase as well. Therefore, patients with relative contraindications may start at low dosages and increase gradually.

    The most significant cardiovascular risk for transgender women is the pro-thrombotic effect (increased blood clotting) of estrogens. This manifests most significantly as an increased risk for thromboembolic disease: deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, which occurs when blood clots from DVT break off and migrate to the lungs. Symptoms of DVT include pain or swelling of one leg, especially the calf. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, and heart palpitations, sometimes without leg pain or swelling. Deep vein thrombosis occurs more frequently in the first year of treatment with estrogens. The risk is higher with oral estrogens (particularly ethinylestradiol and conjugated estrogens) than with injectable, transdermal, implantable, and nasal formulations. DVT risk also increases with age and in patients who smoke, so many clinicians advise using the safer estrogen formulations in smokers and patients older than 40. Because the risks of warfarin – which is used to treat blood clots – in a relatively young and otherwise healthy population are low, while the risk of adverse physical and psychological outcomes for untreated transgender patients is high, pro-thrombotic mutations (such as factor V Leiden, antithrombin III, and protein C or S deficiency) are not absolute contraindications for hormonal therapy. Warfarin (Coumadin) is a prescription for unnecessary surgery because necessary drugs including anesthesia are contraindicated. Surgeons seem to have better luck prevailing upon transgender HRT consumers to take heparin for a few days before surgery and/or stop taking HRT because they have breast cancer than medical doctors attempting to prescribe metronidazole to cure gastroenteritis just like alcoholics trying to avoid cancer diagnosis. After the gay bar shooting that was the largest rampage shooting in US history Medicaid must redetermine Warfarin dependency to be an absolute contraindication.

    In spite of the induction of breast development, HRT in transgender women does not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer. Only a handful of cases of breast cancer have ever been described in transgender women. This is in accordance with research in cisgender men in which gynecomastia has been found not to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. On the other hand, men with Klinefelter’s syndrome, who have two X chromosomes (similarly to cisgender women) in addition to hypoandrogenism, hyperestrogenism, and a very high incidence of gynecomastia (80%), show a dramatically (20- to 58-fold) increased risk of breast cancer that is between that of cisgender men and cisgender women (though closer to that of the latter). The incidences of breast cancer in normal men (46,XY karyotype), men with Klinefelter’s syndrome (47,XXY karyotype), and cisgender women (46,XX karyotype) are approximately 0.1%, 3%, and 12.5%, respectively. Also of potential relevance is the case of women with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, who are genetically male (i.e., 46,XY karyotype) and have normal and complete morphological breast development and in fact breast sizes that are on average larger than those of cisgender women yet, similarly to cisgender men, appear to have little (or possibly even no) incidence of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer in women with Turner syndrome (45,XO karyotype) also appears to be significantly decreased, though this may be related to ovarian failure/hypogonadism rather necessarily than to genetics. Similarly to the case of breast cancer, prostate cancer is extremely rare in transgender women who have been treated with HRT for a prolonged period of time. Whereas as many as 70% of men show prostate cancer by their 80’s, only a handful of cases of prostate cancer in transgender women have been reported in the literature. As such, and in accordance with the fact that androgens are responsible for the development of prostate cancer, HRT appears to be highly protective against prostate cancer in transgender women.

    The most common estrogens used in transgender women include estradiol (which is the predominant natural estrogen in women) and estradiol esters such as estradiol valerate and estradiol cypionate (which are prodrugs of estradiol). Estrogens may be administered orally, sublingually, transdermally (via patch), topically (via gel), by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, or by an implant. Dosages are typically reduced after an orchiectomy (removal of the testes) or sex reassignment surgery.

    The most commonly used antiandrogens in transgender women are cyproterone acetate, spironolactone, and GnRH analogues. Spironolactone, which is relatively safe and inexpensive, is the most frequently used antiandrogen in the United States. Cyproterone acetate, which is unavailable in the United States, is more commonly used in the rest of the world. Spironolactone prevents the formation of androgens in the testes (though not in the adrenal glands) by inhibiting enzymes involved in androgen production. It is also an androgen receptor antagonist (that is, it prevents androgens from binding to and activating the androgen receptor). Cyproterone acetate is a powerful antiandrogen and progestin that suppresses gonadotropin levels (which in turn reduces androgen levels), blocks androgens from binding to and activating the androgen receptor, and inhibits enzymes in the androgen biosynthesis pathway. It has been used as a means of androgen deprivation therapy to treat prostate cancer. If used long-term in dosages of 150 mg or higher, it can cause liver damage or failure.

    Non-steroidal antiandrogens used in HRT for transgender women include flutamide, nilutamide, and bicalutamide, all three of which are primarily used in the treatment of prostate cancer. These drugs are pure androgen receptor antagonists. They do not lower androgen levels; rather, they act solely by preventing the binding of androgens to the androgen receptor. However, they do so very strongly, and are highly effective antiandrogens. Bicalutamide has improved tolerability and safety profiles relative to cyproterone acetate, as well as to flutamide and nilutamide, and has largely replaced the latter two in clinical practice for this reason.

    In both sexes, the hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to stimulate the pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This in turn cause the gonads to produce sex steroids such as androgens and estrogens. In adolescents of either sex with relevant indicators, GnRH analogues such as goserelin acetate can be used to stop undesired pubertal changes for a period without inducing any changes toward the sex with which the patient currently identifies. GnRH agonists work by initially overstimulating the pituitary gland, then rapidly desensitizing it to the effects of GnRH. After an initial surge, over a period of weeks, gonadal androgen production is greatly reduced. Conversely, GnRH antagonists act by blocking the action of GnRH in the pituitary gland. There is considerable controversy over the earliest age at which it is clinically, morally, and legally safe to use GnRH analogues, and for how long. The sixth edition of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care permit it from Tanner stage 2 but do not allow the addition of hormones until age 16, which could be five or more years later. Sex steroids have important functions in addition to their role in puberty, and some skeletal changes (such as increased height) that may be considered masculine are not hindered by GnRH analogues. GnRH analogues are often prescribed to prevent the reactivation of testicular function when surgeons require the cessation of estrogens prior to surgery. The high cost of GnRH analogues is a significant factor in their relative lack of use in transgender people. However, they are prescribed as standard practice in the United Kingdom.

    Progestogens are not commonly prescribed for transgender women. The most common progestogens used in transgender women include progesterone and progestins (synthetic progestogens) like CPA and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). These drugs are usually taken orally, but may also be administered by intramuscular injection. Progestogens, in conjunction with the hormone prolactin, are involved in the maturation of the lobules, acini, and areola during pregnancy: mammary structures that estrogen has little to no direct effect on. However, there is no clinical evidence that progestogens enhance breast size, shape, or appearance in either transgender women or cisgender women, and one study found no benefit to breast hemicircumference over estrogen alone in a small sample of transgender women given both an estrogen and an oral progestogen (usually 10 mg/day medroxyprogesterone acetate). Anecdotal evidence from transgender women suggests that those who take progesterone supplements may experience more full breast development, including stage IV on the Tanner scale (many transgender women do not develop Tanner stage V breasts). I haven’t noticed any breasts at all after two years since 2014, only Warfarin dependency and colonectomy to treat colon cancer in 2016.

  4. BloggerRadio.com

    Reading the comments in this thread make it clear that the USA has become a 3rd-world Banana Republic (minus the good weather) due directly to the fact that ‘you can’t fix stupid’. I will be surprised if SS & Medicare are able to survive at all over next 4 years. America is in the swirly … circling the drain.

  5. shawn m.

    can someone please tell me exactly what is going on? i receive S.S.I. since i was about 18 because my mother took me to a workforce place for the disabled and the worker took her aside after trying to speak to me and told her about S.S.I. i never knew about it or cared about it. i was never a scammer but she said i am not going to be able to work. so is this saying that you are going to raise my check down even lower when its impossible for me to live off 720.00$ in the first place and i have so much on my plate right now it is actually funny not funny because its like my only choice is to hang up! i was born with my mental conditions diagnosed with agoraphobia,social phobia with bad social anxiety attacks,depression of course because it makes me isolate,panic attack and anxiety because these mental illnesses are genetic..me and my oldest sister got the brunt of it the rest of my 5 sisters and one brother work and make a lot of money well 2 of them and don’t have issues..but my aunt has the same thing i do and my great uncle had it as well as my uncle and grandmother on the other side of the family..its not my fault i would love to work and live a normal life..i recently tried different work program because medication i’m on now seem to be helping more with the social anxiety attacks which are the worst and the doctors said i get fright or flight that’s why my hands start shaking and i cant look people the the eye most times..can someone please explain to me if this means that my check is going to be lowered even more even know they are taking money out of my check ?

    • Ann

      There is nothing in this article that indicates benefits are being reduced. However, we need to work with our politicians to ensure this continues to be the case.

  6. Shawn M.

    can someone please tell me exactly what is going on? i receive S.S.I. since i was about 18 because my mother took me to a workforce place for the disabled and the worker took her aside after trying to speak to me and told her about S.S.I. i never knew about it or cared about it. i was never a scammer but she said i am not going to be able to work. so is this saying that you are going to raise my check down even lower when its impossible for me to live off 720.00$ in the first place and i have so much on my plate right now it is actually funny not funny because its like my only choice is to hang up! i was born with my mental conditions diagnosed with agoraphobia,social phobia with bad social anxiety attacks,depression of course because it makes me isolate,panic attack and anxiety because these mental illnesses are genetic..me and my oldest sister got the brunt of it the rest of my 5 sisters and one brother work and make a lot of money well 2 of them and don’t have issues..but my aunt has the same thing i do and my great uncle had it as well as my uncle and grandmother on the other side of the family..its not my fault i would love to work and live a normal life..i recently tried different work program because medication i’m on now seem to be helping more with the social anxiety attacks which are the worst and the doctors said i get fright or flight that’s why my hands start shaking and i cant look people the the eye most times..can someone please explain to me if this means that my check is going to be lowered even more even know they are taking money out of my check because a lawyer who sued a debt collect agency for me was slimy and put the money he got out of it which was almost all of it 3500$ on my tax form somehow using my SS# and dob and name and SSA found out through IRS 2 years later and i got a letter from the slime ball lawyer who is my brother pal saying that that money was given to him and i only got 500$..so he admitted he committed tax fraud,identity theft and one other violation may have these issues with anxiety since i was in kindergarten and got left back once in my life in kindergarten because i did not talk to the other kids i felt totally out of place…so they labeled me emotionally handicapped? and ruined my life by putting me in the slow class where i finished all my work in 20 minutes and sat there all day while the other kids who had retardation issues worked all day on the work and i got made fun of of course and bullied by the other kids for being in that class and that set it off worse..that school should be sued for ruining my life..they had to put me in normal classes inn a diff state and i did fine but it was too late..and i did work at a sign making shop with neon and at whitman’s factory..i tried so don’t call me a fake or lazy bum…i have to pay back a full check thanks to that lawyer my brother and him said i was going to get 1,000$ out of because the slime ball does this for a living and gets the debt cleared..instead they only gave me 500$ so in the end i lost more then i gained ..and i am paying off another months check for being thrown in jail for tress passing at my own home with my keys to the house in my property? ..i didn’t know u had to tell SSI so i am paying to checks and have bad issues right now i have 2 little boys that if they weren’t born and alive i wouldn’t be here on this earth right now i only am alive because of them and i will gladly take a bullet in the head for my kids any day anytime and everyone who knows me knows not to ever say anything in any type of negative way about my kid meaning even if they hit one of their kids playing…my 9 year old is praised by every teacher and person that knows him and says its like talking to a 20 year old..because i taught him history and theology and other things and he has memory like and elephant and the huge words he uses..and my 8 year old as well but hes still more into playing and being a kid where my 9 year old isnt as much..and i am going through hell for the first time with trying to get my food stamps trying to reapply online they put all glitches in the new network 0npurpose i was almost finished up to 78 percent and my name and password are saved on the form but when i went back to finish it did something and made me start all over and u know it takes 2 hours to finish that form..i went to my psych. doctor and they weighted me and i lost 25 pounds in one month thanks to food the food stamp program and i tried and tried again and now their using other glitch ways to deter me and you to get our benefits like medicaid ssi ssdi HEAP which i never got a dime from in my life ,section 8 even know im disabled so i am suppose to be on the top of the list with the 64 year old’s my skin is the wrong color so that’s a 5 years wait…and NOW YOUR SAYING YOU ARE TAKING MORE FROM ME THAT I AM USE TO LIVING OFF..U CANT JUST DO THAT THAT MAKES PEOPLE END UP IN YOUR PSYCH WARDS AND I GUESS I’LL LIVE IN THEIR AND COST YOU MORE MONEY..I BEEN IN PLENTY..PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT SOMONE I HABVE SOO MUCH ON MY PLATE WITH MY KIDS BEING AN 8 HOUR TRIP AWAY …THE STATE TAKING MY PERFECT CONDITON MAXIMA 2000 BECAUSE SOME SNITCH CALLED AND SAID THE PLATE IS OUT OF DATE JUST GOT THAT CERTIFIED LETTER NOW AND REFUSED IT..AS I WAS TYPING..SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME IF THIS MEANS THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE MORE OUT OF MY CHECK…THANK YOU VERY MUCH

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Shawn. Unfortunately, your question is a bit more complex than we can answer in this forum. For your security, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. We do ask that members in our Blog community refer to their local office on specific questions about their case. If cannot reach your local office, you can also call 1-800-772-1213, M-F between 7 AM and 7PM and ask a representative to assist you. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this helps.

  7. Mandelbrot S.

    Just look at the tag cloud the SS Admin uses to the right of this blog orum. It only includes SS Administration approved terms. I do not see the terms “Ponzi”, “Scam”, “ripoff”, etc in said cloud ot the right, but I have just started paying attention to this blog.

    Regards,
    Mandelbrot Set

    • Hail E.

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  8. Michael M.

    Speaking of budgets and the longevity of the Social Security System and Medicare, it seems there should be policy in place to lower the individual potential per-incident benefits for Social Security and Medicare recipients who elect NOT to have annual cancer screenings and such done, such as colonoscopy, mammograms, prostate exams, etc., and develop the various cancers that go along with self-neglect. Self-neglect should not be rewarded with spending Medicare dollars on the treatment of cancers of self-neglected individuals whose conditions could have been avoided thru annual screenings. If you don’t get annual screenings and develop a cancer of these types, your benefits are reduced for the treatment of your condition, that simple, put the responsibility on the backs of the benefir recipients.

    All U.S. citizen recipients of Social Security and Medicare should have FORCED accountability and responsibility to the pooled benefits they are receiving. Many of these conditions would never happen if people had annual screenings done. Prostate cancer is very treatable and very manageable if caught in its early stages thru prostate exams and blood tests (PSA levels rising are a red flag for male prostate biopsy). It is much less expensive to screen for a cancer, than it is to treat a cancer. It is much less expensive to stay well than it is to become sick.

    While administrative efficiencies are a step in the right direction, the management of the the pooled funds should start with a “wellness” approach; rather than a “treatment” approach. Let’s put more responsibility onto the shoulders of the recipients thru a “forced wellness” approach. Let’s reduce the pooled benefits for those who opt out of annual screenings that keep themselves well. Let’s not reward those who don’t care about wellness by paying out full Medicare benefits for the conditions that their self-neglect brought on.

    • BloggerRadio.com

      Lemme guess, you’d have us return to the days when only white, male, land owners were allowed to vote too, huh?

    • retiree

      psa tests are far from reliable & have many false positves, should only be used with other testing. Cancer sreenings are no gaurentee that you will not have cancer. pet scans,cat scans miss 30% of the total area of the humen body which can hide dorment tumors that are undecteable by scans.

    • Hail E.

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  9. Jack H.

    Social Security is a scam and a Ponzi scheme. “Fewer than 64,000?” If private sector administered SS, it would take a fraction of that number. Government produces NOTHING! It only steals wealth and redistributes while the people at the top syphon off a huge amount for themselves!

  10. RenerHawkins

    Hello
    I need My sons socialsecurity for apply for a new passport.Were can I find it??
    Thank you.

    • Jenna Y.

      Thank you for your question. For your son’s security, you can only request this information in person at a Social Security office. You will need to present documents proving your identity, your son’s identity and citizenship status, and evidence of your relationship to, or responsibility for, him. Good luck!

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