Rant

 

After a review of the budget for Social Security Administration (pp 1065-1073) for fiscal year 2003, you should be aware of the following.

 

CDR’s in SSI & DIB have at least $433 million available for states until 9/30/03 [§103 of PL 104-121;  §1023 of P.L. 105-33].  42 USC §201(g)(1)(A) for reviews (CDR’s).  (p.1071)

 

Collection activities (recovery of overpayments) are scheduled to increase based on an estimated increase in receipts from $28 million in 2001 to $42 million in 2002 and $44 million in 2003 for account 69.00 [Code 20-8006-0-7-651]

 

The OIG will get an increase to go after SSA fraud and [hopefully] internal corruption.  [i.e. selling Social Security Numbers to illegal immigrants; selling information to credit card/collection agencies]

 

The 6.3%Attorney fees “tax” [Code 20-8007-0-7-651] from account 02.22 will rise from $27 million in 2001 to $34 million in 2002(est.) and $36 million in 2003.  This is a guess in light of the aging of the population (baby boomers) and increase in the fee cap from $4K to $5.3K.  This also assumes HR 2333 fails to pass and limit the “fee” for processing the attorney fee check to $100.00.  Support HR 3332

 

As most SSI/DIB practitioners are painfully aware, clients are currently (Feb 2002) receiving 1099’s from the IRS indicating the certain Workers Compensation payments (non-taxable) were deducted (offset) from back benefits, yet the IRS pretends the whole back benefit check was actually received (and therefore potentially taxable).  This transubstantiation from non-taxable to taxable is legal and has been upheld.  A cause for malpractice concern and very difficult to explain to clients.  In 2001 the IRS collected $736 million; the 2002(est.) will be $942 million and 2003 (est.) $972 million.  This means a more aggressive approach to taxing these “offsets” of phantom dollars.  A need for corrective legislation exists in this area.

 

Practitioners will also be amazed to learn that more money goes to SSI than to DIB program [Dollars in Millions]

 

2001                        2002                        2003

SSI                     $2,469             $2,756             $2,953

DIB                    $1,437             $1,453             $1,768

 

Why would SSA budget two different lines for CDR’s in SSI and another in DIB?  What happens to clients who get both?  Will SSA go after these clients with twice the resources?  Or does Congress mistrust SSA to focus on one group (SSI) over another (DIB)?  What’s your guess?

 

Why is the smallest print reserved (p.1072) for this statement: “2001 data may not match actual accounting data”?  Who do you trust these days?  Government?  Corporate America?  Accountants?  Investment Bankers?  Brokers?  Priests?  Lawyers?  Rating Agencies?  As stated on Hill Street Blues “Be careful out there…”

 

Consider that the interest income in 2001 on the Social Security Trust Fund deposits is $61 billion plus [Code 20-8006-0-7-651; 02.41] and the total expense for running SSA including the OIG is $8 billion plus (p. 1073), the “Lock Box” should be imposed NOW.

 

                                                                                    My humble opinion.  What’s yours?

 

 

 

                                                                                    David R. Bryant

                                                                                    Olde Mann