A paid leave benefit is under consideration that would put the Social Security Administration (SSA) in charge of administering it. And concerns have been raised about that by the AARP, which represents retired Americans.
“Voters age 50-plus are concerned that using the Social Security Administration (SSA) to administer a paid leave benefit could have a negative impact on Social Security Retirement benefits,” according to the AARP’s website.
The organization has conducted a survey of Americans 50 and over of the proposal.
“While there is broad support for such a program, older voters are concerned that administering this benefit through the SSA would negatively impact the administration of Social Security benefits to retirees,” the AARP said. “They are concerned that it could lead to longer wait times, delay of benefits, poorer customer service, and benefits cuts. Overall, more than half (54 percent) believe that administrating paid leave through the SSA would hinder the allocation of Social Security benefits to retirees.”
The AARP conducted a survey of 750 people over 50 and found that 100 percent of those surveyed are registered to vote in their state.
The survey asked whether respondents “support or oppose a paid leave benefit that is funded by taxpayers for working individuals who need to take time off for sickness or injury, to care for a newborn, or who need to provide care for an adult family member or friend?” To that, 37 percent answered “strongly support,” 36 percent “somewhat support,” 17 percent “somewhat oppose” and “9 percent “strongly oppose.”
When they asked how they feel about SSA supervising the program, 21 percent said “strongly support,” 35 percent answered “somewhat support,” 23 percent answered “somewhat oppose” and 21 percent said “strongly oppose.”
Once they asked whether they “knew that wait times on Social Security’s 1-800 number have already increased from 3 minutes to 20 minutes in the past ten years, how much would you support or oppose having the Social Security Administration administer the paid leave program?,” 12 percent said “Strongly support,” 24 percent said “somewhat support,” 31 percent answered “somewhat oppose,” and 33 percent said “strongly oppose.”
And when asked if they knew that “recently, bankruptcy filings significantly increased while people were waiting to resolve their disability cases with the Social Security Administration, how much would you support or oppose having the Social Security Administration administer the paid leave program?” just 9 percent said “strongly support,” 23 percent answered “somewhat support,” 32 percent said “somewhat oppose,” and 35 percent said “strongly oppose.”
The bill in question is the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which was introduced most recently by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.