I am a currently a 34 yr old Social Security Claims Representative. I have also been a Program Analyst at SSA headquarters in Baltimore for two years and have a background in policy. From my experiences on both the technical part of the job and the higher level, I think that if we revamp just one policy we could save millions.
Currently, for disability benefits, we pay up to one-year retroactive monthly benefits. Our State disability examiners have to develop costly medical reviews on records for years in the past based on the claimant's allegation of when they became disabled. If we changed the disability policy stating that you cannot be entitled to Disability benefits before your date of application, We would save millions in retroactive benefits we pay each year as well as the money it takes to review medical records in the past. Some people alleged disabilities going years back. If an individual is disabled, they should be encouraged to apply at the time of disability, not years and months later; costing the government millions in development and trying to pinpoint and exact date, which is really left up to human interpretation and judgment anyway. Of course, there would be measures and caveats to protect people who were too ill to apply or have other insinuating circumstances.
This is actually the policy we are already using on our Supplemental Security (SSI) programs. There is no retroactivity for SSI benefits. We should take this measure to save money with our Social security dollars as well.