WASHINGTON, D.C. — Close to five million people rely on Social Security in the Sunshine State and more than 66 million people nationwide receive some form of benefits from the SSA.
While Governor Ron DeSantis says the program might need to be revamped to remain viable, he made it clear on Sunday that he would not cut funding for seniors who depend on it.
“I’ve always said ‘A promise made, a promise kept,’” DeSantis told Fox News. “I’m the governor of Florida, of course we’re going to protect people’s Social Security.”
“Talking about making changes for people in their 30s or their 40s so that the program is viable – that’s a much different thing, and that’s something that I think there’s going to need to be discussions on,” DeSantis added. “We’ve got to make sure we preserve it for our seniors because they depend on it.”
REDUCING FEDERAL SPENDING
Social Security is one of the largest programs in the federal budget and has been scrutinized by Republicans in efforts to reduce federal spending. But in a crowded Republican primary, DeSantis must show voters that he can reduce federal spending without affecting the lifeline of so many American seniors.
While DeSantis says discussions are needed to see if the government can trim spending without impacting current senior citizens, Congress released a budget proposal that includes a $183 million cut to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
According to the most recent report from the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees, the program will no longer be able to pay out full benefits in roughly ten years, making the issue a hot topic for the upcoming presidential election.
In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee last week, the American Federation of Government Employees warned that cuts to the SSA could increase wait times for seniors and those with disabilities as they apply for benefits through the program.
“More cuts to SSA will result in a rapid increase of wait times, force SSA offices to close in many communities, and reduce service hours to the public,” Julie Tippens, the director of AFGE's legislative department, wrote in the letter.