When it comes to disability benefits, the Social Security Administration is very particular about whose claims they accept and deny. The administration of the Medicare program is a responsibility of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services , but SSA offices are used for determining initial eligibility, some processing of premium payments, and for limited public contact information.
The individuals surveyed were asked whether they agreed with several statements about Social Security, such as I feel that I have earned these retirement benefits.” The more strongly an individual agreed with such statements, the more likely they were to say they would file for their benefits early.
My impression is that Congressional Republicans would like to hold hearings about poor service at Social Security, much like the hearings on service at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but again they have concern that the blame will be placed on them.
These factors are: 1) a decline in Social Security replacement rates due to the decline in one-earner couples and the increase in Social Security’s Normal Retirement Age; 2) lower pension replacement rates as a result of the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans; and 3) lower annuity payments due to the dramatic decline in real interest rates.
An anonymous post on the CONNECT board reports that Linda McMahon, Social Security’s Deputy Commissioner for Operations has the job, although this conflicts with the previously established hierarchy which would have given Larry W. Dye, the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff, the job.