Monday, February 25, 2008

Boyda blocks closure of Social Security offices

In some non-FISA related news, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, along with Congressman Dennis Moore (D-KS) announced on Feb. 11 that they had successfully prevented the closure of the Social Security field office in Kansas City.

In what amounts to a blessing for thousands of people in Kansas and Missouri, Boyda and Moore stopped a pilot program that would have limited office hours at the Kansas City field office- with the idea limiting business hours would allow the small numbers of employees to catch up with the tremendous backlog of cases they currently have.

The American Association of People with Disabilities released a report in August 2007, showing that of Social Security disability beneficiaries residing in Kansas, over 26 percent of those are still waiting for their cases to be heard – the worst rate of disability backlogs in the country.
The backlog is very really, but cutting the number of hours the administration offices were open to help was simply not an option that could have been on the table.
“Kansans already wait an average of two years to have their Social Security appeals heard. The Social Security Administration’s proposal to cut their Kansas office hours could have made a bad situation much worse,” Rep. Boyda said. “Congressman Moore and I appreciate the SSA’s willingness to address our concerns. We look forward to finding ways to reduce the backlog while keeping the doors of the federal government open to Kansans.”

“We’re pleased that this project has been delayed indefinitely, but that alone doesn’t improve the current backlog for Kansans," Congressman Moore said. "Congresswoman Boyda and I will continue to find ways to improve the efficiency and quality of service so that beneficiaries aren’t unduly punished by extended delays."
He wasn't just whistling dixie. In a piece that appeared in Sunday's Lawrence Journal-World, Congresswoman Boyda said that, hopefully, the new funding added to this year's budget by the Democratic majority might just help add much needed staff to the Social Security Administration.

Even with improvements, waits grow longer as the pile of claims coming into the agency continue to climb. Both the Kansas City and Wichita offices ended the fiscal year with 1,000 more cases than what they started the year with.

While Social Security staffing levels are at their lowest in more than 30 years, baby boomers are filing claims in record numbers.

“The baby boomers, and I am one of them, are in the middle of our most disability-prone years now,” Garlinger said. “And it is only going to get worse.”

U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., said the boost in this year’s federal budget will be just enough to “stop the bleeding” after consecutive years of declining personnel.

“Cutting this many people out of administration right as the baby boomers were coming on was a sure way to crash the system,” Boyda said.

Congresswoman Boyda and Congressman Moore need to be commended for their work protecting the very most vulnerable in our society. Hopefully Boyda is right, and with the new funding provided by the Democrats, the backlog can be eliminated and applications can be processed in a swift manner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nancy Boyda should go on a hunger strike until every old person gets more money? That will teach them.

Better yet ... she should hold her breath. When Nancy's face turns purple and she passes out, the Republican will learn that she means business.

This blog is not affiliated in any way with the Kansas Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Boyda, or the campaign to re-elected Congresswoman Nancy Boyda. All commentary herein not directly attributed must be considered the opinion of the authors of this blog and not of any other individual, including Congresswoman Nancy Boyda.