The Social Security Administration is “fully committed” to keep giving people face-to-face service if they prefer it to the phone and the Internet, SSA Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin said Thursday.
“We will always have a field presence,” Colvin told the Senate Finance Committee at a hearing on her nomination to become the permanent chief.
Colvin, who has been acting commissioner since February 2013, also told the Senate panel she is pushing the Justice Department harder to prosecute disability payment fraud.
The lead Republican on the committee, Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch, said the $10 billion in uncollected overpayments for disability claims nearly equals the SSA’s entire administrative budget.
Weaknesses in the health of the disability program were highlighted earlier this week when Social Security officials repeated a warning that the disability trust fund would run out in late 2016, leading to close to 20 percent reductions in payments to beneficiaries if nothing were done.
Congress is expected to institute a short-term fix to the problem by shifting money from the old age component of Social Security to disability, a solution it has used before.
Social Security pays $850 billion monthly to more than 62 million beneficiaries. With the streaming of baby boomers into retirement, about 10,000 persons a week are turning 65.