Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. John Larson (D-CT) introduced the Social Security Fairness Act (S. 3147; H.R. 6251), joined by 6 cosponsors in the Senate and 31 in the House. The bill would set Social Security Administration’s (SSA) administrative funding at 1.5 percent of overall benefit payments, a significantly more adequate level compared to current funding. The bill would also eliminate the five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the 24-month waiting period for SSDI beneficiaries to qualify for Medicare. Finally, the bill would implement a moratorium on all closures of SSA field offices and contact stations. H.R. 6251 has been referred to the Committees on Ways and Means, Budget, Rules, and Energy and Commerce; S. 3147 has been referred to the Committee on Finance. The Arc supports this legislation to strengthen administration and customer service across Social Security’s programs and to end unnecessary and harmful waiting periods that SSDI beneficiaries currently endure.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) plans to close Social Security field offices to the public 30 minutes early each day, beginning November 19, 2012. For example, a field office that usually closes to the public at 3:30 p.m. will instead close at 3:00 p.m. Additionally, beginning January 2, 2013, SSA plans to close field offices to the public at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.