Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced that the agency has expanded its outreach to people in critical need of financial help who may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSI provides monthly payments to adults age 65 and older or to other adults – and children – with a disability or blindness who have limited income and financial resources. SSI helps pay for basic needs like rent, food, clothing, and medicine.
“Helping eligible people access critical benefits, including SSI, is part of Social Security’s core mission,” said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi. “Underserved communities face additional challenges, like unreliable or no access to the internet and computers, that widen the divide. Social Security’s campaign strives to reach people in their communities to tell them about the eligibility criteria for SSI, and how to contact us online at www.ssa.gov/ssi or by phone for more information or an appointment to apply.” The campaign supports President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
Social Security used data to identify and reach underserved communities in rural and urban areas across the country where it noted the greatest decline in SSI applications since the pandemic, and where the majority of people living in those zip codes are people of color and/or people living at or below the 150 percent Federal poverty threshold.
Social Security’s campaign uses a variety of ways to reach people, including radio and television public service announcements (PSA), radio ads, mailers, bus shelter and other large signs, flyers distributed to local stores, and printed publications in several language options.
Watch the 60-second television PSA below.
Social Security also is reaching more people online through social media, digital, YouTube ads, and search engine marketing.
Individuals who receive SSI may qualify for other financial help, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), Medicaid, and discounted internet service through the Federal Trade Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Individuals who receive Social Security benefits may also be eligible for SSI.
People with limited income and financial resources, and with access to the internet, should visit www.ssa.gov/ssi to learn more about SSI eligibility and request an appointment to apply for benefits. People without access to the internet can call Social Security’s National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 to speak with a representative.
In addition to this campaign, Social Security recently proposed simplifications to the SSI program when people are receiving food assistance. The proposed changes will simplify the rules, making it easier to understand and comply with program requirements. This will save time for the public and Social Security and improve the equitable treatment of food assistance within the SSI program. Social Security accepted comments about the proposed rule through April 17, 2023.
To get more Social Security news, follow the Press Office on Twitter @SSAPress.
Olivia and Liam are once again America’s most popular baby names in 2022. Liam has topped the list for six years in a row, and Olivia has been the top choice for new parents for four years. There is only one new name in the top 10, with Luna crawling into the top 10 for the first time.
Here are the top 10 boys’ and girls’ names for 2022:
Social Security began compiling the baby names list in 1997, with names dating back to 1880. Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. Here are the top five fastest rising boys’ and girls’ names in 2022:
Please visit www.ssa.gov/babynames to view the entire list and see where your name ranks now and over the past 100 years.
“Just like your name, Social Security is with you from day one. One of the first things parents do for their newborn is get them a Social Security number. That makes Social Security the ultimate source for the most popular baby names each year!” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “And just like a name, Social Security is with you through life’s journey. See what else you can do at www.ssa.gov while you’re online.”
Visitors will experience a fresh homepage and new design to help them find what they need more easily, with clear paths to the tasks customers need to accomplish. This is part of ongoing efforts to improve how the public can do business with the agency.
While online, users can create mySocial Security accounts. mySocial Security is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing into retirement. Nearly 80 million people have signed up at www.ssa.gov/myaccount and benefited from the many secure and convenient self-service options. They can request a replacement Social Security card online if they meet certain requirements. If they already receive Social Security benefits, they can start or change direct deposit online, request a replacement SSA-1099, and if they need proof of their benefits, they can print or download a current Benefit Verification Letter from their account.
People not yet receiving benefits can use their mySocial Security account to get personalized Social Security Statements, which provide their earnings information as well as estimates of their future benefits. The portal also includes links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits.
To get more Social Security news, follow the Press Office on Twitter @SSAPress.
The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, one year earlier than projected last year, with 80 percent of benefits payable at that time.
The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2033, one year sooner than last year’s estimate, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund asset reserves are not projected to become depleted during the 75-year projection period.
In the 2023 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds declined by $22 billion in 2022 to a total of $2.830 trillion.
The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income in 2023 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. Total cost began to be higher than total income in 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034. At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“The Trustees continue to recommend that Congress address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely fashion to phase in necessary changes gradually,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “Social Security will continue to play a critical role in the lives of 67 million beneficiaries and 180 million workers and their families during 2023. With informed discussion, creative thinking, and timely legislative action, Social Security can continue to protect future generations.”
Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:
Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.222 trillion in 2022. ($1.107 trillion from net payroll tax contributions, $49 billion from taxation of benefits, and $66 billion in interest)
Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.244 trillion in 2022.
Social Security paid benefits of $1.232 trillion in calendar year 2022. There were about 66 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 3.61 percent of taxable payroll – higher than the 3.42 percent projected in last year’s report.
During 2022, an estimated 181 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
The cost of $6.7 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2022 was a very low 0.5 percent of total expenditures.
The combined trust fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.4 percent in 2022.
The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Julie Su, Acting Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.
Statement by Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, on the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Key investments focus on improving service, modernizing our information technology, and improving the customer experience and equity in our programs.
The Biden-Harris Administration today released the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The Budget details a blueprint to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, lower costs for families, protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security, and reduce the deficit by ensuring the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share—all while ensuring no one making less than $400,000 per year pays more in taxes.
“Our programs affect individuals throughout their lives: from birth, to entering the workforce, to facing a disability or loss, and to retirement. The broad and critical nature of our programs drives our request for the resources necessary to improve our service to the public.”
The President’s FY 2024 Budget request for the Social Security Administration (SSA) proposes $15.5 billion in discretionary budget authority. The Budget will:
Improve Service Delivery: The Budget provides an increase of $1.4 billion, a 10-percent increase over our FY 2023 enacted level to improve customer service at our field offices, State disability determination services, and teleservice centers for retirees, people with disabilities, and their families while maintaining the integrity of our programs. Each year, we process more than 6 million retirement, survivors, and Medicare claims and more than 2 million disability and SSI claims. The Budget supports increased staffing levels from FY 2023, allowing us to process about a half million more disability cases in FY 2024 than we completed in FY 2022 and significantly reduce wait times for those decisions.
Advance Equity and Accessibility: We are one of the most important anti-poverty programs in the country. We remain committed to administering our programs in a way that promotes equity and fairness. We are making it easier for people to access the services they rely on, including individuals experiencing homelessness, children with disabilities, and people with mental and intellectual disabilities. The Budget makes investments in these areas to support SSI outreach work, including collaborating with government agencies and other third-party organizations in local communities to provide convenient access to our services and ensure members of the public are aware of their potential benefit eligibility.
We are also committed to enhancing the diversity and richness of our workforce to strengthen and maintain an inclusive work environment that values individual differences and treats employees with dignity and respect; thereby, enriching our current workforce, which is driven by our public service mission. This Budget continues our efforts to hire and promote the Nation’s best talent and build a diverse and representative workforce and ensure that all employees have equal opportunities to advance in their chosen careers.
Modernize our Information Technology: The Budget continues investment in our information technology (IT) to reduce the burden on the public, modernize our website and online services, and provide an improved customer experience.
To accelerate our progress, the Budget includes $50 million in dedicated no-year funding for our Benefits Modernization efforts. Our Benefits Modernization efforts will provide our employees with better technology tools to determine eligibility and process claims in order to better serve the public. The Benefits Modernization project is in addition to the efforts we are taking to sustain our systems.
Provides National, Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave: The vast majority of America’s workers do not have access to paid family leave, including three out of four private sector workers. Among the lowest-paid workers, who are predominantly women and workers of color, 92 percent have no access to paid family leave through their employers. As many as one in five retirees leave the workforce earlier than planned to care for an ill family member, which negatively impacts families as well as the Nation’s labor supply and productivity. The Budget proposes to establish a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program administered by SSA. The program would: provide workers with progressive, partial wage replacement to take time off for family and medical reasons; include robust administrative funding; and use an inclusive family definition. The Budget would provide up to 12 weeks of leave to allow eligible workers to take time off to: care for and bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill loved one; heal from their own serious illness; address circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment; or find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The Budget would also provide up to three days to grieve the death of a loved one. The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress to make this critical investment and strengthen America’s economy.
Building on the President’s strong record of fiscal responsibility, the Budget more than fully pays for its investments—reducing deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by asking the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share.
The Social Security Administration and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) continue to raise public awareness about Social Security imposter scams during the fourth annual “Slam the Scam” Day on March 9. Social Security scams — where fraudsters pressure victims into making cash or gift card payments to fix alleged Social Security number problems or to avoid arrest – are an ongoing government imposter fraud scheme. For several years, Social Security impersonation scams have been one of the most common government imposter scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Social Security has made concerted efforts to address this issue, through extensive outreach and investigative initiatives. These efforts have made a significant impact, reducing money reported lost to Social Security scams by 30 percent from 2021 to 2022.
“I am proud of the work we have done to combat Social Security imposter scams and raise public awareness,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to protect the public and their critical benefits. We urge Americans to remain vigilant, do not give out personal information or money, and report any scam attempts.”
Scammers use sophisticated tactics to trick potential victims into disclosing personal and financial information. Typically, they use these P’s – Pretend, Prize or Problem, Pressure, and Payment. For example, scammers pretend they are from Social Security in phone calls or emails and claim there is a problem with the person’s Social Security number. The scammer’s caller ID may be spoofed to look like a legitimate government number. Scammers may also send fake documents to pressure people into complying with demands for information or money. Other common tactics include citing “badge numbers” and using fraudulent Social Security letterhead to target individuals for payment or personal information.
Social Security will never tell you that your Social Security number is suspended; contact you to demand an immediate payment; threaten you with arrest; ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone; request gift cards or cash; or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information or money.
Social Security employees do contact the public by telephone for business purposes. Ordinarily, the agency calls people who have recently applied for a Social Security benefit, are already receiving payments and require an update to their record, or have requested a phone call from the agency. If there is a problem with a person’s Social Security number or record, Social Security will typically mail a letter.
“Working with our law enforcement and private sector partners to inform consumers about scammers and their deceptive practices remains a priority for my office. We will continue promoting National Slam the Scam Day to help protect consumers from these predators. Slamming the scam begins with consumers quickly taking a step to hang up the phone, or delete suspicious texts and emails, without responding to the scammers,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “That remains the easiest and most effective method to avoid falling prey to these vicious scams.”
Tomorrow’s events include:
1 p.m. ET: Join the FTC’s National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) Twitter chat (in Spanish) for advice on avoiding common scams with @laFTC. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #NCPW2023.
3 p.m. ET: Join the FTC’s NCPW Twitter chat (in English) for advice on avoiding common scams with @FTC. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #NCPW2023.
Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi appointed Richard Litsey as the Director for the Office of Native American Partnerships, the new Social Security Administration tribal office within the Office of the Commissioner. This office serves to elevate and centralize efforts to administer comprehensive programs and policies related to American Indians and Alaska Natives. It will enhance the agency’s relationship with Tribes and serve as the primary point of contact on Tribal affairs for all stakeholders.
“I am very pleased to welcome Richard Litsey as the first Director of our new office. Richard brings a wealth of experience advising federal agencies on ways to improve public programs and services for American Indians and Alaska Natives,” Acting Commissioner Kijakazi said. “Our Office of Native American Partnerships provides Tribal communities more representation and strengthens our commitment to reducing barriers to ensure people who are eligible for our benefits receive them.”
“I am thrilled to lead the new Office of Native American Partnerships, which will further develop and maintain a strong presence with Tribes nationwide to ensure effective delivery of our services to retirees, people with disabilities, and elder populations,” commented Richard Litsey. “The office serves as the agency’s primary point of contact for external and internal stakeholders on Tribal affairs.”
The Office of Native American Partnerships is responsible for many functions to assist Tribal communities throughout the country. It seeks to improve services to communities by engaging in meaningful national and regional policy consultations, roundtable discussions, and seminars with Tribal and Federal experts. It also coordinates internal agency Native American efforts, increases external program awareness to the Tribal community, helps to recruit a diverse candidate pool for hiring at all levels of Social Security, and serves as the primary point of contact for Tribal Government Offices to foster transparency and collaboration. Additionally, the office will conduct ongoing data collection and analysis to improve outreach to Tribal communities.
Mr. Litsey previously worked for the National Indian Health Board as the Director of Policy and Advocacy, the U.S. Senate as Counsel & Senior Advisor for Indian Affairs, Committee on Finance, and the Social Security Administration as a Hearing Office Director and Senior Attorney. He is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and a member of the Federal Bar Association, Capitol Hill Chapter.