Fictional Independent Agency
The nature of certain types of public and social services demands the formation of many agencies that are not directly controlled by the executive organ of the government (Breyer 12). Such agencies are not controlled by the President, cabinet secretaries, or executive departments of the government. Some of the services popularly provided by such independent agencies include transport and postal communication services, energy services, scientific and technological services as well as social security services (Breyer 12). This paper shall discuss an example of such independent agencies that provides social security and related services with an aim of exploring its purpose, structure and effects on society. The agency will be herein called the Social Security Agency.
Social Security Agency
Like any other independent agency, the Social Security Agency is created within the constitutional framework of the country. Yet it is independent of external control from the president and executive arm of the government. This is mainly because the constitution limits the powers of the executive and other entities from controlling the agency and as such they cannot arbitrarily dismiss its head or members (Breyer 25). The Social Security Agency was formed as a result of a statute that was passed by the Congress that gave the agency the mandate and power to conduct different activities in order to achieve its objectives which will be discussed later in this paper. The same statute that was evoked to form the agency grants it powers to formulate rules and regulations regarding social security matters and in fact, gives it similar powers under federal or state laws. This agency can thus be said to have been formulated under an organic statute that not only designed its creation but also monitors and regulates its conduct and powers. The agency was formed in compliance with the provisions made under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), of 1946, which monitors how federal administrative agencies come up with and implement their rules and regulations (Hall 3).There are many primary structures of the statute forming the Social Security Agency and these include penal provisions, procedural and administrative provisions, taxation provisions and general provisions as well as other miscellaneous provisions.
The agency is easily distinguished from other governmental agencies that are closely monitored and controlled by the central government because of its unique its structural and functional features. One of the key features that distinguishes the Social Security Agency is that it is comprised of seven members who are appointed by the executive after consultations with the legislative organs of the government and are mandated to act as board members possessing equal powers for a specific term as stipulated in their contract. The terms of each board member usually last for more than five years and each term is usually spaced out to make sure that different members retire at a different time. This way the president cannot have an influence over the board and the board also transitions well upon the retirement of one president or member of the board. However, appointments of the chairmen of the board are done by the president but in order to enhance non-partisan appointments and actions, the president or executive is not given any authority to sack the board members. Nevertheless, there are leeways in terms of statutory provisions that allow the president to remove a member from the board on grounds of gross carelessness, malfeasance, incapacity and negligence (Hall 4).
The relevant organic statute also demand nonpartisan representation hence members of the board must be drawn from all stakeholder institutions and positions of the agency must be filled with all stakeholders in mind. The board’s membership is not therefore the preserve of specific people because of their cultural, social, economic or political affiliations.Even though the statute that forms the agency mandates the president to hire and fire the chairman of the board, he must observe the proper protocol and regulations when carrying out this task. For instance, before the removal of a board member from office, evidence must be adduced to show his or her negligence. During such impeachment notions the legislative body of the government must be involved and no direct firing of board members is permitted. The statute further bars members of the legislative body of the government from becoming members of the agency.
The Purpose of the Agency
There Social Security Agency serves different purposes. The most obvious of its functions is to make sure that qualified citizens receive their necessary social security benefits and services on time. In this regard, the agency serves retired citizens, people with disabilities, war veterans, destitute children, and the survivors of natural as well as man-made disasters and calamities such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and crimes of terror among other things. In order to achieve its objectives effectively, the agency has employed the assistance of insurance programs in addition to establishing numerous funds for its different groups of clients so as to effectively disseminate varied social services as the need arises. The agency generates income from the taxes paid by clients during their working terms and also obtains grants and donations from the state, federal governments, corporate bodies and private citizens as well as other agencies.
The Executive Order 12866 that was signed by President William J Clinton in 1993, states that the agency intends to design and implement policies and procedures which meet specific set rules on planning, coordinating and reviewing its activities. This means that the agency formulates rules and procedures that ease access of its services to its clients. The agency further desires to implement processes that work for the people and help to improve their environment and general welfare. The agency will also strive to improve the general economy without imposing uncalled for and unnecessary costs on its clients and society at large. It will also respect the rule of the land by recognizing and honoring the important supervisory roles played by the federal, state and local governments. To this effect, the agency will strive to align its current and future rules and regulations to national rules and ensure that they are reasonable and consistent with those practiced by other agencies of the land.
Creation of Rules
Another important role of the agency will be to create proper rules and regulations that guide its clients. One of the pertinent rules that the agency intends to create is the law that targets same-sex marriages. This law will address taxes and benefits of couples in same-sex unions. Through the proposed law, the agency will recognize same sex marriages hence couples in such unions will be treated as married and be subject to federal taxes regardless of where they reside. If this law is to see the light of day, same-sex couples that are married would be able to reap their social security benefits like couples in heterosexual marriages regardless of whether their respective states recognized same-sex marriages or not. Nevertheless, same-sex couples’ taxes will still remain effective even with the implementation of the new legislation. Importantly, this law will have positive effects such as reducing confusion surrounding the taxation of same sex couples and also enable the tax payers in same-sex marriages to choose their preferences when filing their returns. That is they will be able to choose whether to pay tax as couples or individuals.
The rule will also have an effect on health insurance covers of same-sex couples. If the same-sex couple file for taxes as a married couple they should be ready to forego their personal and dependency exemptions. In addition, this move will also affect the couple in terms of taxation of their employee benefits and contributions to IRA because filing for taxes as a married couple will automatically increase their income hence their taxes.
Social services are extremely important in enhancing the quality of lives of the vulnerable and weak in society. Consequently, the importance of delivering quality social services to vulnerable clients such as the elderly, war veterans, civil servant retirees, destitute children and former taxpayers among other weak members of society cannot be overemphasized. The Social Security Agency therefore plays a crucial role in formulating regulations that facilitate delivery of equitable and effective social security services to these vulnerable clients. The foundation of the agency is based on its observance of the relevant statutes which guide its operations. The agency is thus firmly built on the statute that facilitated its creation and is answerable to relevant state, federal and local laws as well as appropriate regulatory authorities. While the agency seeks to offer social benefits to the marginalized and vulnerable in society, their services are dependent on individual contribution of members towards the agency.
Breyer, S.Administrative Law & Regulatory Policy, Fifth Edition.Aspen Publishers. 2001.
Hall, D. Administrative Law Bureaucracy in a Democracy, Fourth Edition. Pearson. 2009.