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David R. Bryant's Monthly Rant

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December's Monthly Rant

by David R. Bryant


Has Social Security ever accepted the problems passed on by the "Prior Administration?" I have yet to discover such an incident in recent history (i.e. 30 years) and certainly since the Commissioner was made Czar. Dr. Apfel is no exception. One can only wish that a Greenspan or even Janet Reno, someone with spine enough to stand up to Congress as well as the President, were in charge. For a start:

    1. Admit that re-engineering is not working.
    2. Fire people, regardless of status if they donít perform to set standards.
    3. Support management in efforts to innovate to provide service.
    4. Commit the resources necessary to make the 1-800 number effective both technically and personally.
    5. Leave the Judges alone and restore their independence.
    6. Stop fooling yourself and federalize the state agencies if you want a "federal" system that operates from the same playbook.
    7. Ask Congress, to do two things: First, legislate once every five years if needed; Second, keep the letters on behalf of constituents to a minimum. Use the "laison" officers and legislative experts to work in D/Oís or on phones.
    8. Stop contracting stupid and old ideas to ex-SSA officials. Whether software or hardware revisions of DOT or studies of the disability process.
    9. Make all wages subject to a reduced FICA tax and increase the monthly payments to reflect parity with pay-in versus pay-out. Abolish weighting in favor of low wage earners.
    10. Abolish the retirement test at age 66.

The basis for these suggestions is experience in Chicago, Illinois with almost all levels of Social Security practice. From devising spend downs to qualify "rich" people with HIV/AIDS for SSI; to estate plans for "retired" executives to pull money out of the company and still collect retirement. From disability for alcoholics to survivors benefits based on DNA Testing. From fighting off benefits of illegitimate children to fighting for benefits of legitimate children. From proving the age of a Holocaust survivor to proving a 35 year old nutcase was crazy before age 22. From overpayment settlements to structured settlements.

The basis is experience talking to the good, competent people with SSA who are fed up with professional bureaucrats and incompetent fellow employees or supervisors.

How about it Dr. Apfel? DO YOU HAVE SIMILAR CONCERNS? Let us know.

David R. Bryant

Feel free to respond with some thoughts along these lines by E-mail to drbryant@ais.net

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