SSA will need to dip into reserve funds to stay afloat

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  • The Social Security Administration will start eating into its capital to pay for current expenses. In their annual report to Congress, the Social Security Trustees said they expect total costs to exceed income next year, and in all the years beyond that. Its outlays, nudging at a trillion dollars, have exceeded its payroll tax income since 2010. SSA has made up the difference with interest on its reserve fund. But now SSA will have to dip into reserves, which would disappear by 2034 for old age insurance. (Social Security Administration)
  • The IRS came close to meeting its hiring goal for seasonal workers during this year’s tax season. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found as of last December, the agency brought in nearly 2,700 temporary employees — about 90% of the amount it was hoping to get. In addition, the IRS had plans to hire 122 employees to staff up more than 350 taxpayer assistance centers nationwide this tax season. Most of those were permanent hires to fill vacant positions. Only 32 of those hires were seasonal. (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs gave more assurance that it’ll be ready to implement the MISSION Act’s new community care program by the June 6 deadline. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said veterans will have more care options, and scheduling appointments will be easier. Wilkie said eligible veterans will have access to a new network of walk-in urgent care facilities for minor illnesses and injuries. Veterans enrolled in VA programs will receive a letter in the mail with more information. Details will also be available online. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • Kicking off National Small Business Week, the Small Business Administration will be launching a new hackathon. Participants will build application-programming interfaces to leverage data from agency websites. They’ll also come up with plans for small businesses to recover more quickly from major natural disasters. SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton, and leadership from Visa, will select the winner of the $25,000 first prize. (Small Business Administration)
  • More Air Force members will be eligible for bonuses as the service expands its aviation bonus program to include battle managers. Those positions provide command and control for airborne and ground units. They’re now eligible for $35,000 per year bonuses when signing a contract for three to 12 years. The expansion will open up bonuses to about 595 new people. (Air Force)
  • The Air Force joined a growing list of agencies frustrated with the cyber approval process for IT systems. It’s launched the Fast-Track ATO or authority to operate process to shorten the time to get new IT capabilities to warfighters. Matt Donovan, Air Force undersecretary and chief information officer, signed a memo detailing the new process that is centered on three key actions. The Fast Track ATO will give officials the discretion to make decisions based on the cybersecurity baseline, an assessment or penetration test and the ability to ensure there is a continuous monitoring strategy for the system. The Air Force joined the General Services Administration and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as agencies developing a new way to keep the ATO process rigorous, but add speed. (Federal News Network)
  • After promising to reach out to all service members living in privatized on-base military housing, the Marine Corps said more than 14,000 requested visits or phone calls. The service conducted the survey after numerous reports of poor living conditions. After speaking with the services members, Marine leaders said they’re working to mitigate the issues. (U.S. Marine Corps)
  • Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, brings on Army Lt. Gen. Karen Gibson to be the next deputy director of national intelligence for national security partnerships. Gibson will lead the outreach to improve collaboration with the military and other federal departments, allies, foreign intelligence, security services and the private sector to ensure intelligence is timely and relevant. She started in her new role on April 1, coming to ODNI from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where she served as the intelligence director, J2, for U.S. Central Command. (Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
  • The Pentagon CIO’s office planned its first-ever global town hall. The May 17 event will be hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland, and live-streamed to Defense Department IT leaders and contractors around the world. The CIO’s office wants to discuss digital modernization, including its plans for the forthcoming JEDI cloud contract, artificial intelligence, the cyber landscape and IT policy reform. The event is closed to the public and press, but DoD said anyone with a Common Access Card will be allowed to attend or watch the webcast. (Department of Defense)
  • Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) joined her Senate colleagues in introducing legislation that would grant financial relief to federal employees who have to relocate for work. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ended agencies’ ability cover taxes on some moving reimbursements. Those reimbursements became recognized as taxable income for some federal employees. GSA guidance from 2018 resolved this issue for 95% of federal employees who relocated. This bill would resolve the issue for the remaining employees looking to relocate. It has bipartisan support in the Senate. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) first introduced this bill back in March. (Rep. Elaine Luria)

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