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"Save Social Security First" Commitment Reflected In President Clinton's Fy 99 Budget Proposal For Social Security Administration

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For Immediate Release
February 2, 1998
John Trollinger/Rich Hensley
410-965-8904   FAX 410-966-9973

Social Security Administration

News Release



The Social Security Administration's FY 99 proposed budget reflects President Clinton's commitment to strengthen the Social Security program and address the critical issue of ensuring that Social Security will continue to provide economic security for future generations of Americans.

"Now that we have proposed a balanced federal budget, created a strong economy, and restored fiscal discipline to the government, we have an opportune time to take steps necessary to strengthen the Social Security program for the 21st century," Social Security Commissioner Kenneth S. Apfel said today. "As President Clinton said in his State of the Union Address last week, we must save Social Security first and the President's budget reflects that commitment by reserving the Federal budget surplus pending Social Security reform."

Total outlays for all SSA-administered programs are projected to increase to $427 billion in FY 99, up from $412 billion in FY 98. The number of Social Security beneficiaries will increase to about 44.8 million, while the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program will level off to about 6.5 million beneficiaries. The combined Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance trust funds reserves will increase by about $106 billion, reaching about $835 billion.

"Our FY 99 budget will continue to ensure that over 49 million current Social Security and (SSI) beneficiaries continue to receive their monthly payments timely and accurately," Commissioner Apfel said. "In addition, this budget showcases an effective and efficient government agency that continues to safeguard the public's investment."

The FY 99 budget provides the necessary funding to support important customer service improvements and other program management initiatives, such as:

  • delivering world-class service, especially in handling disability workloads and reducing backlogs of appeal caseloads;
  • making Social Security program management the best in business with zero tolerance for fraud and abuse by increasing disability reviews and initiating sizeable increases in SSI non-disability reviews;
  • promoting responsive Social Security programs and conducting effective policy development, research, and program evaluation through increases in overall research budget;
  • strengthening public understanding of Social Security programs through heightened educational efforts and accelerating the mailing of Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate statements.

Administrative expenses will increase by $39 million to about $6.5 billion. These funding and staffing levels will allow SSA to:

  • process between 5 and 6 million new claims for benefits;
  • issue almost 17 million new and replacement Social Security cards;
  • post 255 million earnings items;
  • handle more than 55 million toll-free telephone calls;
  • more than double the number of continuing disability reviews under the SSI and Social Security disability insurance programs, 1,637,000 compared to 690,000 last year.

"This budget, with only a modest increase, still allows SSA to provide continued efficient service to tens of millions of people who call our toll-free national 800 number or visit our 1,300 field offices nation-wide," Apfel said. "At the same time we will be able to intensify our public education efforts so that the American public will have a better understanding of Social Security today so that they can help shape the Social Security program for tomorrow."

Note: Copies of most SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security information and statistics, are available at SSA's Internet site, Social Security Online, at

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