Social Security has been a social issue for a long time. One of the primary issues surrounding social security is benefits changes for qualified persons. People were not intended to collect social security for decades and decades. As a result of people living longer the program increased the retirement age in 1983 (Social Security, 2014). The age for retirement benefits eligibility increased from 66 to 67 (Social Security, 2014). Since the beginning of the program the retirement age has increased from 62 to 67 in order to compensate for longer lifespans and for increased use of benefits with programs other the retirement (Social Security, 2014).
The difficulty in this issue is that public administrators must make cuts in the program in order to keep the program from running into a deficit. This has been going on for a long time and benefits eligibility has undergone many changes such as in 1960 the disability rules were modified to permit payment of benefits to disabled workers of any age and to their dependents (Social Security, 2014). In 2009, President Obama signed the No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act which prohibited the payment of any retroactive benefits to individuals while they are incarcerated or in violation of parole or probation (Social Security, 2014). There have been many changes in laws governing SSA which directly impact the benefits and eligibility but not all of them are received well by communities. For instance, during the 1980s many people lost their disability status with the government when President Reagan altered the rules (Social Security, 2014). This controversy continues today because many people feel that social security disability is targeted when there is tremendous areas of spending that go untouched such as military spending. This creates an issue with voters because public administrators must balance the needs of the voters with the needs of the programs.
The Problem of Bureaucracy
One major problem that minimizes the ability of public sector employees to do their job is the inefficiency caused by bureaucracy. Public servants often become victims of bureaucratic ritualism which is a practice of focusing on policy and rules to such a degree that the organization’s goals are undermined. For example, the paperwork involved in receiving help from an organization such as Social Security may undermine the need for timely assistance.
This problem occurs as a result of stringent policies and rules. While these rules and policies may be intended to create a fair and efficient public service, they can often limit the ability of the public servant to provide the help that people need.
In order for the conventional bureaucratic organizations such as Social Security to change, new aspects of work and individual workers must be considered. Some of these new aspects of thought include creative freedom, competitive work teams, a flatter organization, and greater flexibility. These attributes take the form of an organization which shares responsibilities and problems across the entire membership rather than relying of specific groups or departments for the solution. This type of organization would also try to align the needs of workers with the needs of the organization in order to build value. The individual employee and his or her goals and values must be aligned with the organization for flexibility in the organization to be achieved. By aligning goals and objectives in this manner the culture of the organization is transformed and focused in a manner seeking to improve itself.
Social Security. (2014). Social Security History. Retrieved from Social Security: http://www.ssa.gov/history/orghist.html
Social Security Workers Filing U.S. National Archives and Records Administration