“Today’s front-page New York Times story highlighting the human toll of the growing backlogs in our Social Security Disability Insurance system is a stark reminder that Congress and the President must act immediately to address this problem. I have for several years been calling on this Administration to adequately fund the Social Security Administration to ensure that people with disabilities and retirees can access the benefits they deserve. But the President has been more interested in spending $10 billion a month on a misguided war in Iraq and tens of billions each year in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans than in funding key services for our most vulnerable citizens. As a result, the average delay for individuals seeking an appeal from a disability determination has doubled since 2000 to more than 500 days.
“The President’s recent veto of additional funding for the Social Security Administration signals an unacceptable willingness to let this problem continue to grow. His veto will leave hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities to suffer and even die without our support. That’s why today I wrote the President urging him to reconsider his veto threat. I asked the President to make immediately clear that he will support the needed funding increase for SSA, and will sign it into law. I hope the President heeds this advice. But if he fails to act, then as President I will act immediately to address these growing backlogs, and ensure that the SSA has adequate support to serve Americans in need. People with disabilities and retirees deserve a President willing to stand up for their interests and ensure that government is delivering—not denying—them the support they need. I intend to be that President.”