Acting Social Security Chief Calls for Funding Boost


What you need to know

  • President Joe Biden has called for $14.8 billion in funding from the Social Security Administration in fiscal 2023.
  • Acting Social Security Commissioner Kijakazi says the level of funding would help her agency clear backlogs and continue important IT modernization work.
  • The stakes are high as Social Security is a critical source of retirement income for all Americans, especially those belonging to historically marginalized minority groups.

On Wednesday, Acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi delivered opening remarks at a retirement stocks forum held by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis and the Economic Policy Institute.

The purpose of the policy event, which was moderated by Teresa Ghilarducci of the New School, was to draw attention to the challenges black and Hispanic workers face in preparing for retirement compared to their white counterparts, and to calling on lawmakers to take concerted action to close the gap .

According to Kijakazi and the other speakers, the Social Security program plays an important role in providing retirement security to all Americans, but the program is especially critical for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. As such, Kijakazi said, it is paramount to the continued drive for racial equality in the United States that the Social Security program is placed on a sound long-term financial footing.

As Kijakazi emphasized, it is important for Congress to take steps to adequately fund both Social Security program benefit funds and the Social Security Administration itself.

Kijakazi says her focus now is all about getting Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s proposed fiscal budget for 2023, which would send about $14.8 billion to the Social Security Administration, an increase over the budget of $13.3 billion from the agency for fiscal 2022.

According to Kijakazi, the SSA is currently operating at one of its lowest staffing levels on record and SSA staff faces significant backlogs and challenges, especially when it comes to assessing and approving Social Security disability claims.

“Social Security is the foundation of many Americans’ retirement security,” Kijakazi said. “It is one of the most popular and successful social insurance programs in our country, and it is also one of the most progressive. We must act quickly to ensure that the program lasts for generations to come.”

During her remarks, Kijakazi highlighted the fact that African Americans and Hispanic Americans continue to be discriminated against in hiring and promotions. As such, these demographic groups have lower incomes and higher debt burdens on average, including when taking into account educational attainment.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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