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

January 9, 2017 • By

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Last Updated: November 3, 2023

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


  1. Virginia L.

    According to the Social Security Administration website it says and I QUOTE: “We currently mail Social Security Statements (Statements) to workers age 60 and over who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits and do not yet have a my Social Security account. We mail the Statements three months prior to your birthday. We issue Statements by mail in English (or in Spanish if you live in Puerto Rico). If you receive your Statement in English and would like to receive it in Spanish, or vice versa, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or visit your local Social Security office.”
    NOTE; ** On Monday, April 16, 2018 at 11:47 AM at my REQUEST the Social Security Administration did DEACTIVATE my online account for my MySocialSecurity (MySSA) online account, that online account was DEACTIVATED >> BEFORE my 60th Birthday, now at 61 years old as of today’s date, Wednesday, September 11, 2019 I have NOT received a Social Security statements in in OVER 20 years. I did call the Social Security Help Desk on the phone, was on HOLD for over an HOUR on Wednesday APRIL 3, 2019, I was >> INFORMED << .. "those.Social Security statements WILL be sent the mail automatically!!" So what I'd like to KNOW is how do I go about getting my Social Security statements SENT to me in the mail and the BEST contact method to get results from the Social Security Administration??

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Virginia. We are sorry to hear about your experience. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. You can contact or visit your local Social Security office. We hope this is resolved soon.

  2. Malinda T.

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  3. Malinda T.

    I am a new medicade member. It is very confusing. Luckily, we were lead to a broker who knows her stuff. We highly recommend her.

  4. Frances V.

    Can I have Fica tax deducted from my SS check

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Frances. Thanks for your question. In order to have taxes withheld from your Social Security benefit, you must start by printing, completing and submitting an IRS Voluntary Withholding Request Form (Form W-4V). On this form, you can choose to have 7, 10, 12, or 22 percent of your monthly benefit withheld. The Form W-4V (to withhold federal taxes from your Social Security benefits) can be returned to your local Social Security office by mail or in person. See our Benefits Planner: Withholding Income Tax From Your Social Security Benefits web page for more information. We hope this helps.

  5. connie l.

    You said youd refund 135.50 Jan 11 2019. Havent received it Connie Lynch

    • Vonda V.

      Thank you for contacting us, Connie. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you.

      To inquire about your benefits, you will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  6. Alonso M.

    Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.I want to read more things approximately it!

  7. Arlene A.

    need to update my address . How do I do that on line ?

    • Ann C.

      Thanks for your question, Arlene. If you are receiving Social Security retirement or disability, you can create a personal my Social Security account to change your address online.
      If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income, you should contact your local office immediately. We hope this helps.

  8. Sandra E.

    How do I set up Direct Deposit for my monthly SSDI payment?

    Please reply to confirm receipt of this message!


    Sandra Evans

    (281) 900–0543

    • Ray F.

      Hi Sandra! Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page for complete information on this topic. Thanks!

  9. Jovan L.

    Hi you have a very easy to follow site It was very easy to post fantastic

  10. Kurtis C.

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