Michael Astrue, commissioner of the Social Security Administrator (SSA), is begging Congress to give the agency at least as much funding as it has requested for fiscal year 2013.
The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
SSA has asked Congress to provide $11.9 billion in budget authority for 2013, up from $11.6 billion for 2012.
For private disability insurers, the statue of SSA’s Social Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is a high priority.
The SSDI program pays benefits to workers who are so severely disabled that they cannot reasonably be expected to hold any ordinary job that pays more than a nominal amount of income. Disabled workers who qualify for SSDI can get Medicare health insurance 2 years after they get their SSDI benefits.
SSA expects to pay $143 billion in benefits to 11 million disabled people and family members in 2013.
A trust fund covers the cost of the SSDI benefits, but the SSA has to come up with funding needed to administer the program.
In part because of tight budgets, SSA officials have been struggling to reduce SSDI processing times for more than a decade.